ADA — Too much of Wauseon’s Austin Rotroff.
The 6-foot-9 senior from Wauseon was a force on the offensive and defensive ends of the floor as helped his squad beat Shawnee, 69-52, in the Division II district final at Ohio Northern University on Saturday.
Wauseon, the No. 1 ranked team in the state, advanced to the regional in Bowling Green. Shawnee ended its season with a 18-8 mark.
The talented post player, Rotroff, finished with a game-high 28 points, including six dunks, and eight rebounds to wreak havoc on the offensive end. On the defensive end, Rotroff recorded five blocks and was a mainstay on the inside where he altered numerous Shawnee shots.
“We had a point of emphasis to confront the post and get some backside help,” Shawnee head coach Mark Triplett said. “We knew weren’t going to have a guy suddenly grow six or seven inches and match up with that guy so we needed to bring as much help as we could and they did a great job of executing…and that put us in a lot of uncomfortable situations.”
Wauseon head coach Chad Burt said the game plan was to get Rotroff as many touches as possible but added that it was not just his center who contributed.
“I thought early on he (Rotroff) was very assertive and I thought he finished very well at the rim and the guys understand the better he plays the better we play so again we are very fortunate we have basketball players who understand the game and are able to make adjustments in game.”
Wauseon took control of this game in the first quarter when the Indians, on the strength of Rotroff’s offense and the team’s defense forced crucial turnovers to allow Wauseon to break out to a 25-13 lead after the first quarter.
Things went from bad to worse for Shawnee in the second quarter when the Allen County based Indians would be held to one point and even though Wauseon managed only eight of its own, it was enough to give Wauseon a 33-14 halftime advantage.
In that second period, Wauseon switched to a 1-3-1 zone and it proved to be highly effective for them.
Triplett said that he felt his team was a little timid with their offense against the 1-3-1 especially with Rotroff in the middle.
“I thought they did a great job in that 1-3-1 and we just couldn’t attack it,” Triplett said. “We couldn’t find a way to get to the middle of it and it is not just the big boy. They have guys who work the perimeter. They just made it really difficult for us on the offensive end that quarter.”
IN the first half, Shawnee shot a paltry 26 percent from the floor. Wauseon, who feasted inside with Rotroff and had 17 first quarter points, hit 56 percent of their shots.
Rotroff, who was doing a lot of damage on the offensive end, was also an imposing force on the inside as he blocked three shots and altered numerous others.
Wauseon took control of the game in the third quarter when they opened the second half with15-2 run to push the lead up to 46-16 with 5:39 left in the first half.
Shawnee’s offense showed life late in the third quarter when they began to hit their outside shot but the hole was too deep for Shawnee to dig out of and at the end of three it was 54-29.
Shawnee went 11-of-22 from behind the 3-point line but most of those came with Shawnee down by 20 points or more. In the first half Shawnee was 3 of 9 from treyland.
For the game, Shawnee shot 34 percent. Johnny Caprella and Logan Maxwell both finished with 12 points each. Riley Rosado chipped in 11 and Sheridan O’Neal ended up with 10.
n addition to Rotroff’s 28 points, teammates Levi Seiler and Trent Armstrong each finished with 12 points each.
“You look at the stats at the end of the day and you feel good about hitting 11 of 22 from 3-point range but it was basically too little, too late,” Triplett said. “It didn’t look like we wanted to shoot from the perimeter in the first half. They were playing off us and giving us looks and I just think we were not playing as loose as we could have on that end of the floor but I thought we battled and we could have quit after we were down 30 but they battled and I was proud of our kids for that.”
Shawnee senior Tyler Moore said it was a bittersweet ending to the season because this was the first team to make it the districts since 2000.
“We have done what a Shawnee team has not done in a very long time,” Moore said. “As seniors it feels really bad and really good because it is over but knowing that we started with what is more to come in the future.”
Reach Jose Nogueras at 567-242-0468.