Wapakoneta pulls away from Delphos Jefferson

WAPAKONETA — Wapakoneta boys basketball coach Trey Elchert feels optimistic about his team’s chances to be successful if it plays good defense, controls the boards and takes care of the basketball.

In Friday’s season opener against visiting Delphos Jefferson, Wapakoneta checked all three boxes en route to a 47-33 victory over Delphos Jefferson.

“We pride ourselves on defense, rebounding and taking care of the ball,” Elchert said. “We feel that if we can defend, rebound and take care of the ball, we will have a good chance to be pretty successful.”

Zac Niekamp led Wapakoneta (1-0) with 15 points, including a perfect 7 of 7 shooting from the free-throw line. Niekamp also came away with seven rebounds. Nate Metzger had 10 points, four rebounds, three steals and three assists. Cash Schadl added eight points, including two 3-pointers for the Redskins.

Karder Agner, a 6-foot-4 forward, led Delphos Jefferson (0-1) and all scorers with 16 points, including two 3-pointers. Agner also pulled down six boards. Teammate Alijah Petty added eight points, including two successful shots behind the 3-point line. Kellen Carder added seven points for the Wildcats.

Elchert praised Niekamp and Metzger for their performances Friday night.

“Zac (Niekamp) had a great game tonight. I think statistically, he had a great night,” Elchert said. “But to me what stood out was his vocal leadership out on the floor. It was as good as I’ve ever seen, which is what I would expect out of one of our seniors.

“Nate (Metzger) also had a great game. He had a heck of an assignment, defensively, on (guarding) Agner. … Give him credit. He (Agner) is a load down inside. He’s very versatile. Nate (6-1) battled him most of the night; and he (Metzger) was able to finish around the rim himself.”

It took a little while before Wapakoneta took control of Friday’s contest.

The lead changed hands three times in the first quarter before Wapakoneta managed to slip out with a 16-10 lead by the first stop.

Wapakoneta led the rest of the way.

The Redskins led 24-20 at the halftime break. However, in the third quarter, Wapakoneta outscored Jefferson 12-2 to pull out to a commanding 36-22 advantage by the end of the third quarter.

Jefferson was just 1 of 8 shooting from the floor in the third stanza.

“It starts on the defensive end of the floor,” Elchert said. “We had a very good defensive third quarter. We’re confident that we also have guys who can knock down shots. So, you would like to think throughout the course of the night, that we’re going to be able to go on a little run ourselves, when some of those shots start to fall.”

For the game, Wapakoneta shot 46 percent from the field. Jefferson connected on 36 percent of its field goal attempts.

Wapakoneta held a 25-18 edge on the boards.

Both teams handled the ball well. Wapakoneta ended the night with five turnovers, while Jefferson had seven.

“It’s always good to get a win on night-one,” Elchert said. “I think what is hard about night-one is you never know how guys are going to react when the lights come on. You hope they are ready to go.

“I think we responded well. I think it took us a little bit to settle in. But I really thought in the second half, especially defensively, we really settled in.”

Elchert is hoping to build off Friday’s win.

“We have four or five guys who have played a lot of varsity minutes (last season). We have a couple guys who we are hoping to get back from injuries. Everyone is getting healed up from football. We have some guys who are returning (from last season). We’re going to rely on their experience to help lead the way,” Elchert said.

Wapakoneta 47, Delphos Jefferson 33

Delphos Jefferson

Isaac Gallmeier 2, Kellen Carder 7, Karder Agner 16, Alijah Petty 8. Totals: 13-3-33.


Kaden Page 3, Zac Niekamp 15, Nate Metzger 10, Logan Healy 4, Cash Schadl 8, Caleb Adams 3, Ryan Sadler 4. Totals: 18-9-47.

3-pointers made: Wapakoneta – Cash Schadl 2; Jefferson – Karder Agner 2, Alijah Petty 2

Records: Wapakoneta 1-0; Jefferson 0-1