BATH TOWNSHIP — Bath, Bath, Bath.
Every time a Wapakoneta player took a step with the ball, that’s what the Redskins saw.
Bath’s man/trapping press smothered Wapakoneta and pulled away with a 66-32 boys basketball victory Friday at Bath.
Bath’s defense came at Wapakoneta in waves from end-to-end. In the backcourt, it was the Bath man press. At midcourt, it was a series of traps.
And, if the Redskins reached the frontcourt, Bath’s man defense pushed the Wapakoneta offense out past the 3-point line.
“Credit to them (Bath). They were obviously ready to play and we were not,” Wapakoneta coach Matt Bradley said. “… We can’t get the ball to halfcourt, how are we going to run our offense? Credit to their pressure, they do a tremendous job with it.”
Bath forced eight Wapakoneta turnovers in the first quarter and 21 for the game.
Bath stands 8-2, 2-0 in the Western Buckeye League. Wapakoneta is 5-5, 0-2 in the WBL.
Bath’s pressure helped it run out to an early 7-0 lead. The Wildcats led 15-7 after the first quarter.
Logan Rockhold led Bath with 18 points, with nine coming in the opening quarter. Taren Sullivan added 11 points, while Cole Chambers scored nine. Doug Sanders came off the bench to score nine.
By halftime, the Wildcats led 23-15 and had forced 13 Redskins’ turnovers.
“We always like to put pressure on the other team,” Logan Rockhold said. “We knew that they had some good ball handlers and we knew we would have to get out and choose the right times to trap. We were able to do that and everybody played their roles really well and we were able to get steals and buckets. All of us grew up running up the floor and getting steals and trapping so this is just the right fit for our team.”
The Redskins stayed within range at the half by outrebounding Bath, 20-11.
Bath struggled from the field in the first half, hitting just 9 of 30 from the field, including 3 of 14 on 3-pointers.
“I thought in the first half our defense is what kept us in it,” Bath coach Doug Davis said. “We weren’t finishing things or executing very well on offense. In the second half, we started making shots and finishing around the basket.”
The Wildcats started the second half blistering the Wapakoneta 1-3-1 zone. Bath used a 14-3 run to pull out to a 37-18 lead. Over that streak, Chambers hit two 3-pointers, Sullivan hit one 3-pointer and Conner Rockhold (seven points) connected on a three-point play.
“Our traps started to bother them and (Alex) Greve’s foul trouble hurt,” Davis said. “He’s their best ballhandler.”
Wapakoneta’s 6-5 Jake Buzzard scored when he got the ball down low, but the Redskins struggled to get him the ball. He led the team with 13 points and eight rebounds.
“We knew they wanted to get the ball to the block,” Davis said. “We don’t have a real post player, so our way to stop from getting the ball to the post is pressure their guards. We wanted to make it hard for them to make an entry pass.”
Bath shot 45 percent from the field and 9 of 21 on 3s. Wapakoneta hit 44 percent from the field, but took only 27 shots, while Bath took 49. The Redskins won the boards, 27-22.
In the end, it came down to Bath’s defensive pressure end-to-end.