Southview's Zech Miller (1) knocks them all away from Perrysburg's Jackson Sizemore.
Southview was the preseason pick to win the Northern Lakes League, and heading into the Christmas break, the Cougars have looked the part.
In a home game against Perrysburg, which was picked second in the NLL, Southview took control of the game in second quarter and never let go in a 60-38 victory on Friday night.
Christian Wagenhauser scored 14 points, Tehree Horn had 13, and Zech Miller added 12 for Southview, which kept the Perrysburg offense in check to remain unbeaten on the season.
“Our defensive pressure was pretty good,” Southview coach Stan Joplin said. “We wanted to make them feel uncomfortable on offense as much as we possibly could, because if we let them run their offense, they were going to pick us apart. We just wanted to make them play a little bit faster than they wanted to do.”
The Cougars (5-0, 3-0) took control of a slow-paced first half with an 11-0 run started by Wagenhauser in the second quarter.
With the Yellow Jackets leading by one, Wagenhauser made three straight buckets, Zech Miller scored at the rim plus a foul, and Tehree Horn converted a baseline drive to give Southview a 23-13 lead.
“The middle was open, so that’s what got me going,” said Wagenhauser, who scored 10 of his 14 points before halftime. “My shots were rattling around the rim and they fell in a couple plays in a row, so that got us out to a decent lead in the first half.”
Despite holding the Cougars’ offense to just 23 points in the first half, Perrysburg (3-3, 1-2) went into halftime trailing by eight. Turnovers were the culprit. Perrysburg threw away the ball 11 times in the first 16 minutes and scored 15 points in the first half.
“We played defense really well in the first half, but we had 11 turnovers and we’re down eight,” Perrysburg coach Dave Boyce said. “We played defense really well and held them to 23 points, but you can’t lose 11 possessions. That dug a hole for us.”
Perrysburg briefly cut the lead to four in the third quarter, but a 7-0 Southview run ended the threat. The Cougars led by at least eight the rest of the game.
Thanks to the Southview defense, Perrysburg never created the run it needed to cut into the lead. The Yellow Jackets hit a pair of back-to-back shots near the end of the third quarter to trim Southview’s lead to 36-28, but that was as close Perrysburg would get for the rest of the night.
The Cougars’ offense awoke midway through the third quarter and rallied to outscore Perrysburg 34-16 to end the game.
“Honestly, I think it was finishing shots in the second half,” Wagenhauser said. “In the first half, we were missing layups by driving in and thinking we needed to alter our shots, but really we just needed to go up and try to finish strong, and we did.”
Ian Riddle led the Yellow Jackets with 13 points. Zach Pohlman had 10.
Southview saw balance on offense, but Joplin was most encouraged by his team’s effort to hold a primary NLL competitor under 40 points for the game with bothersome defense.
“That was the main thing we wanted to do,” Joplin said. “For the most part, if you hold Perrysburg to 38 points, you got to feel pretty good.”
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