There was one guarantee in Elida’s 48-45 boys basketball win over Wapakoneta on Friday night at the Elida Fieldhouse.
One of the two teams was going to feel better about themselves than they had for most of the last month.
Elida broke a six-game losing streak with its first win since Dec. 21 with the victory. Wapakoneta’s loss was its sixth in the last seven games.
Devon Barnett scored 17 points and Issac Manley had 14 points for the Bulldogs (6-9, 2-3 Western Buckeye League). Kaden Siefring’s 15 points led Wapakoneta (4-10, 0-5 WBL).
Elida hit four of its first five shots, including three 3-pointers, got off to a fast start and never was behind in the game.
The Bulldogs were up 26-13 at halftime, had a 12-point lead, 38-26, after three quarters but saw their lead drop to two points in the game’s final minute.
Elida coach Denny Thompson liked what he saw from the Bulldogs’ two big men, Barnett and Manley, who combined for 31 points and nine rebounds.
“We got points from our inside people. If we get 30 points from our inside people I like our chances in a lot of games. We hadn’t had that for a long time,” he said.
He said he would have liked to have gotten the big men involved more as part of an inside-outside game to set up 3-point shots.
“We really should have gone to them more than we did, maybe not to score, but you can’t just come down and cast threes. “I liked our energy all night. But sometimes it just wasn’t directed in the right way,” he said.
“You’ve got to protect the basketball and you’ve got to make free throws. If we do those two things (in the fourth quarter) we maintain our 10-point lead, everybody is happy and we go home. But when you don’t, you put yourself in the situation we had. But they missed enough shots and we made enough plays to pull out the win.”
Elida led 44-34 with five minutes left in the game but Wapakoneta got to within two points, 47-45, on an inside move by Noah Ambos with 51 seconds to play.
Dylan Buetner hit one of two free throw with eight seconds to play to make it 48-45 and Wapakoneta missed a 3-point attempt as time ran out.
Elida played without leading scorer Quan Moore, who missed his fifth straight game for medical reasons.
“He’s averaging 17 (points), seven (rebounds) and five (assists). You take that out of the mix, that’s tough,” Thompson said.
Wapakoneta coach Doug Davis said, “The first half we were a little slow, not playing with as much energy as we did in the second half. We didn’t finish around the basket and weren’t able to score. The second half we came out with more energy and attacked the basket a little more. We made enough shots and got enough turnovers to give us a chance.”