WAPAKONETA — When a basketball team is making shots, everything seems to fall in place.
When the shots aren’t falling, the momentum can shift in a hurry.
Wapakoneta felt both sides of the pendulum in Friday’s 49-42 loss to visiting Shawnee in a key Western Buckeye League boys basketball game.
Early on, Wapakoneta was getting it done at the offensive end.
However, in the second half the Redskins struggled, as Shawnee (8-2, 2-0 WBL) took the lead and held on for the victory.
In the first half, Wapakoneta (6-3, 1-1 WBL) was 11-of-20 from the field. However, in the second half, the Redskins went ice cold, hitting just 5-of-24 from the floor. For the game, the Redskins shot 36 percent from the field. Shawnee shot 42 percent.
Shawnee’s Sheridan O’Neal led all scorers with 19 points, including 9-of-12 shooting from the free throw line. O’Neal also pulled down eight rebounds.
Adam Scott led Wapakoneta with 18 points and six boards. Jace Copeland, who is coming back from a very serious calf injury from football, scored nine points, on three 3-pointers, in his first start of the season for the Redskins.
“I think that was critical for us – not panicking, early on, in the basketball game,” Shawnee coach Mark Triplett said. “I was happy for Jace Copeland, to be able to come out and experience playing again. But, I wish he wouldn’t have come out so hot like he did. But, I think that got a lot of momentum and a lot of confidence for Wapak, early on. I’m proud of our guys, that they withstood that rally early on and fought back.”
Copeland jump-started Wapakoneta early, hitting a 3-pointer, and giving his team a 3-2 lead. A few possessions later, Copeland connected once more behind the 3-point line, pushing the Wapakoneta lead to 8-2, at the 6:20 mark.
The Redskins led by as many as nine points in the first quarter. However, Wapakoneta’s lead was cut to 15-11 by the first stop.
At the 2:54 mark of the second quarter, an old-fashioned 3-point play by Scott, pushed the Wapakoneta lead to 27-17.
However, Shawnee came battling back.
With 50 seconds left in the half, Shawnee’s Tyson Elwer (2 points, 3 rebounds) scored down low, knotting the game at 27 apiece, which held up to the halftime break.
O’Neal scored 12 points in the first half, mostly off dribble-penetration.
Shawnee took its first lead of the game in the opening seconds of the second half, 29-27, on an inside move by Johnny Caprella (5 points, 5 boards).
A 3-pointer by Logan Maxwell (six points), with less than three minutes to play in the third quarter, gave Shawnee a 35-30 advantage, which held up to the end of the stanza.
Wapakoneta went ice cold in the third frame, shooting 1-of-9 from the floor.
“We went about 12 minutes, giving up three points against a darn good offensive basketball team,” Triplett said. “I just thought our guys played hard. I don’t think we played very well, offensively, at times. …We missed some good opportunities to score that we normally would not miss. But, I’m proud at how they played hard every second they were out there.”
In the final eight minutes of action, Shawnee’s largest lead was 11.
Wapakoneta battled back in the closing moments of the contest.
However, Shawnee held off Wapakoneta down the stretch to record the win.
Wapakoneta committed 12 turnovers, while Shawnee turned the ball over 14 times.
Shawnee was 13-of-19 shooting from the free throw line. Wapakoneta was just 4-of-6 from the charity stripe.
“We weren’t making shots,” Wapakoneta coach Doug Davis said. “We tried to go inside, and we got some looks in there, but we couldn’t finish those either. We just stopped scoring.”
The Lima News sports department can be reached at 567-242-0451.