Wauseon's Austin Rotroff, shown in a game earlier this season, put up 20 points Saturday to help the Indians stay undefeated with a 48-43 win over Southview.
At suppertime on Saturday, a caravan could be spotted leaving Wauseon, heading east en route to Sylvania.
A few hours later, those same vehicles left town under the cover of darkness, with giddy occupants after Wauseon’s 48-43 victory over Southview.
“These are the kind of teams that will get us ready for March,” Wauseon coach Chad Burt said. “It was just a good high school basketball game.”
The area’s most anticipated game of the week featured two undefeated teams who played in front of a packed gymnasium. And two constants emerged: Wauseon and its star forward Austin Rotroff.
With the game tied at 16 in the second quarter, Rotroff slammed home a thunderous dunk that drew an equally booming cheer from the visitor’s bleachers. It spurred a 26-10 run that knocked the suspense out of a previously back-and-forth contest. Southview didn’t get within single digits until the final minute.
“We had a game plan coming in,” said Rotroff, who scored a game-high 20 points. “We’ve watched a lot of film on them, scouted them a lot. We knew what our strengths were going to be matched up with their strengths. We knew we had to get it inside and that we could get it to the rim. We focused on that and executed it.”
The victory is Wauseon’s 30th consecutive regular-season win. And it came with a brief moment of nervousness in the closing seconds.
Southview (9-1) outscored the Indians 13-6 in the fourth quarter and ended the game on an 11-0 run. The Cougars had the ball down five with 11 seconds left, but a 3-point attempt came up short and a Wauseon rebound killed the late rally.
Wauseon (10-0) had seven turnovers in the fourth quarter and a plethora of missed free throws, which kept Southview within striking distance.
“They’re a really athletic, really fast-paced team,” said Rotroff, a three-star recruit who’s committed to Duquesne. “We knew they were going to turn up the pressure at the end. We did OK, we could’ve done better. We need to tweak some things and make sure we handle pressure better in the future.”
Tehree Horn led Southview with 12 points. The late surge was spearheaded by Jason Johnson, who scored all seven of his points during the Cougars’ 11-0 run.
“I thought we had a good stretch in the middle quarters,” Burt said. “[Southview is] very good, they’re very athletic, they’re very quick. I thought up until the end we handled it pretty well. They do a lot of good stuff offensively, very well-coached.
“We try and pound the post every game. Our guys recognize that most games we have a size mismatch in there. Credit to Southview, they changed some things up defensively and gave us some fits. But I thought some other guys stepped up and made some plays for us.”
Wauseon won the junior varsity game 43-21. Jared Richer (Wauseon) and Tyler Joseph (Southview) each scored eight points.
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