WAPAKONETA — Good things came in threes for St. Henry in its 56-54 boys basketball win over Wapakoneta on Saturday night.
The Redskins hit seven 3-pointers in the second half when they overcame an 11-point Wapakoneta lead in the final 10 minutes of the game. And they used a zone defense, a 1-3-1, to slow down Wapakoneta’s offense.
Ethan Thieman’s drive to the basket produced the game-winning score with 32 seconds to play and a final Wapakoneta shot was off target.
Caden Niekamp led St. Henry (12-3) with 16 points and Thieman scored 11. Adam Scott had 23 points for Wapakoneta (11-4) and Aaron Good scored 10.
“We hit some big shots. Caden Niekamp hit some huge threes for us. Riley Link stepped up big for us, and the 1-3-1 and the kids refused to lose,” St. Henry coach Eric Rosenbeck said when asked what brought his team back.
Wapakoneta took a 43-32 lead on an inside hoop by Brady Erb with 2:18 left in the third quarter and appeared on the verge of taking control of the game.
But St. Henry scored the last 11 points of the third quarter to tie the game at 43-43 heading in the final quarter.
Link hit back-to-back threes right after Erb’s bucket, Lange finished the quarter with a three and Thieman dropped in a three in the first minute of the third quarter to give St. Henry the lead at 46-43.
Wapakoneta came back to take a 54-49 lead with 2 ½ minutes left but Caden Niekamp hit a three, then hit two free throws to tie the game at 54-54.
“We have not been shooting the ball well this year,” Rosenbeck said. “I think it comes down to focus and guys being engaged and knowing we needed it. When we were down 11 we made some threes and put some pressure on them and were able to make enough plays at the end to secure the win.”
“It was an overall team effort. All nine guys who hit the floor tonight played a role in us getting the win,” he said.
Wapakoneta coach Doug Davis said, “They made some shots, they knocked down some threes they needed to make. The last couple times we had the ball with the lead we shot threes when we didn’t need to and they didn’t go in.
“In the fourth quarter they shot threes a little better than we thought they would. But we knew they can shoot them. In their offense they shoot quite a bit of threes,” he said.
Wapakoneta never led in the first half until two minutes into the second quarter when Scott hit a 3- pointer to make it 16-14.
St. Henry regrouped after that and pushed its lead to five points twice in the second quarter, at 23-18 and 25-20 before Wapakoneta finished the first half on a 12-1 run in the last 3 ½ minutes for a 32-26 lead before the teams went to the locker rooms.
Wapakoneta hit 7 of 8 shots in the second quarter after a cold start, when it was just 5 of 15 in the first eight minutes.
Scott got 11 of 15 first-half points in the second quarter. St. Henry’s Caden Niekamp had eight points in the first half.
For the game, Wapakoneta shot 40 percent on field goals,had 14 rebounds and turned the ball over 11 times. St. Henry shot 47 percent, grabbed 25 rebounds and had 16 turnovers.
Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414.