Wabash Knocks Boys Basketball Out Of Sectional

Posted on March 2, 2019 in Boy's Basketball, Winter Sports

BY JACOB RUDE
sports@wabashplaindealer.com

CONVERSE – Sometimes you’re the hammer, sometimes you’re the nail.

That was Oak Hill head coach Kevin Renbarger’s message after Friday night’s sectional final. After serving as the hammer to Wabash’s nail for much of the last two seasons, the Apaches flipped the script in the Class 2A sectional 37 semifinal.

Wabash not only led wire-to-wire on Friday but commanded the game, leading by at least 20 points for the final 16 minutes of the game to knock off the reigning Class 2A state champions, 75-43.

“Some of it was obviously a lack of concentration on our part and a lack of execution,” Renbarger said. “But, to a certain degree, you have to give a lot of credit to Wabash. I think they were a step quicker to the basketball everywhere we wanted to go. They’re just very, very good. There are times when you’re going to have the upper hand where you’re the hammer and times when you’re the nail. Tonight, I think was a lesson in where we’re at compared to where Wabash is at right now.”

The Apaches, entering as the lone ranked side in the sectional and the prohibitive favorites, ensured there would be no upset on the night, roaring out to a 10-2 lead in the opening 2:42. The lead only grew as Wabash forced 15 first-half turnovers, scored the final 15 points of the second quarter and held Oak Hill to just 16 points in a dominant half.

“It was huge,” Wabash head coach Paul Wright said of his defense. “We just want to make people uncomfortable. When us coaches talked after the game, (we said) that’s probably the best our on-ball defense has been all year. It’s a great time to have it. It sets the tone. That’s why we’ve been as successful this year as we have been. We’d like to top it off tomorrow with a big one.”

Trenton Daughtry scored the opening five points for Wabash before a jumper from Landry Ozmun. Wabash responded with a three-pointer from Dereck Vogel and a layup from Blake Gribben to force Oak Hill’s first timeout.

The Eagles steadied the ship in the second and kept the margin at eight points through the remainder of the period. A basket from Tristen Hayes to open the scoring in the second quarter at the 6:02 mark cut the margin to 22-16.

But back-to-back three-pointers from Daughtry before a corner three from Vogel forced another Eagle timeout with the Apaches opening up a 31-16 advantage. Oak Hill would not score the remainder of the half as Jasper Walter and Daughtry scored the final six points of the frame, the last bucket coming on a layup off a steal from Daughtry to send Wabash into the half up 37-16.

“They made everything that we wanted to do (offensively) very hard to get done,” Renbarger said. “Some of that falls on me. I didn’t do a really good job of obviously giving our kids direction and guidance as to what we wanted to get accomplished. They just made every pass difficult, every entry difficult and every shot was very, very contested. On the offensive end, if they’re going to shoot like that on the consistent basis, they have a chance to make a very, very deep run.”

Any signs of second-half comeback were squashed early by Wabash as the Apaches used a 9-0 run capped off by a three-point play from Elijah Vander Velden to push the lead to 48-19. By the time Oak Hill connected on their first field goal midway through the third since the Hayes basket in the second quarter, Wabash’s 26-3 run had blown the game open.

Hayes offered some resistance on the night for the Eagles, posting a double-double of 20 points and 11 rebounds including a string of eight of 11 points at the end of the third and into the fourth for Oak Hill.

“Tristen was one of the kids we had on the floor that I felt could match, physically and athletically, what Wabash was putting on the floor,” Renbarger said. “So, I think that’s why he had some success. When we sit down and talk about the game on Monday and our season on Monday and where we want to go, that’s going to be the conversation. Taking the weight room seriously, taking your body seriously and investing in getting better fundamentally because we don’t have to look very far to see where we are and where we need to be and Wabash was that eye-opener for us.”

Hayes shot 9-for-16 from the field on the night but the rest of the Eagles combined to shot 8-for-36 as a team and the lead never dipped below 23 points in the fourth quarter as the Apaches cruised to its second-straight blowout win.

While the offense was once again stellar for Wabash, hitting on 26 of their 57 field goals on the night, rebounding proved to be a big key in the Apaches’ quick start on the night as the Apaches grabbed 16 offensive rebounds and won the rebounding battle 42-31.

“Our guys have rebounded well all year. We feel like if we play hard and take good shots, which our kids have taken great shots all year, then you’ll be in a place to rebound. Tonight, we were there. Especially the first and second quarter. The third quarter, we didn’t rebound the ball as well but that’s why you’re able to build leads and hold teams to 44 (points) because you’re getting extra chances.”

Daughtry poured in a game-high 26 points while Vogel added 19 with the duo connecting on a combined nine three-pointers. Elijah Vander Velden had 11 while Logan Vandre Velden finished with five points, nine rebounds, six assists and three steals while holding Eagle leading scorer Konner Cabe to 1-of-8 shooting.

Wabash advances to the sectional final to meet Manchester. Tip-off for the game at Oak Hill is set for 7:30 p.m.

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