PERRYSBURG — Wauseon chose to defend the paint in its non-league game at Perrysburg, which was good news for Perrysburg junior guard Austin Shultz.
Shultz hit 5-of-7 shots from beyond the arc in the first quarter as Perrysburg opened a 24-6 lead and cruised to a 67-32 victory over the Indians Tuesday. The Yellow Jackets won their sixth straight and improve to 7-1.
“I think we were well-prepared,” Perrysburg coach Dave Boyce said. “They do some things very well. I thought we did a good job defending what they do well and turning it into maybe a little bit more of a game they weren’t as comfortable with.”
Perrysburg shot 67% (16-for-24) from the field in the first half, opening a 42-14 lead at intermission. Nearly 14 of 16 minutes of the second half were played with a running clock.
“I thought we made some real good decisions on offense. We found the open man, we didn’t force anything, we finished on the break, and we went to the boards,” Boyce said.
“We try to emphasize it doesn’t matter who gets the points, so I think we made a lot of really good decisions.”
Shultz did not hit another triple after the first quarter, and he only had a couple more attempts, but finished with a game-high 19 points. He says he’s been honing his shooting skills for years.
“It’s a lot of time spent in gym, a lot of summers getting shots up,” Schultz.
He has not had a bad shooting night all year, except in Perrysburg’s only loss, 55-48 at Newark, explaining, “I think if I shot it well there, we probably could have won that game.”
Wauseon coach Chad Burt admits his team ran into a buzzsaw as the Indians fell to 4-3, including a 1-3 mark against Northern Lakes League schools with one to play yet (Sylvania Northview).
“This is one of the better teams in this part of the state, I would say, especially when they come out and shoot the way they did,” Burt said.
“He’s (Shultz) probably one of the best shooters in the state of Ohio, to be honest with you,” Burt continued.
“The funny thing is I thought we tried to do some good things offensively. Obviously, their length and athleticism at the rim really bothered us. They are a complete team.”
Once Wauseon started defending the perimeter, Perrysburg had their way inside the arc. It was “pick your poison” for the Indians.
“They have inside scoring punch, obviously with (guard Matt) Watkins running the show for them,” Burt said. “They have wing shooters, they have size all over the court, and they are well-coached.
“They check a lot of boxes and when they play really well, they are kind of a juggernaut,” added Burt.
Perrysburg junior Gavin Fenneken scored 14, senior Andrew Hunt had 11 points and nine rebounds, Watkins had eight points and four steals, and junior Matt Hubbard scored six. Any can be the high scorer on any given night.
“We believe that when we play together, we are hard to beat, and we can make a really deep run in the tournament,” Shultz said. “I love playing with them — we play so well together and it’s just fun playing with those guys.”
The Yellow Jackets finished the game shooting 60% (27-for-45) from the floor and making 4-of-5 free throws. Perrysburg held a 27-16 advantage off the boards and the Yellow Jackets had nine turnovers to the Indians’ 16.
Junior guard Elijah McLeod led Wauseon with eight points, junior guard Tyson Rodriguez scored six, and senior forwards Landon Hines and Jackson Gleckler scored five apiece.
Senior guard Jack Leatherman scored four points, and senior guard Jude Armstrong and junior forward Logan Patterson added two points each.
The Indians shot 32% (12-for-38) from the field and made 5-of-6 free throws. Burt says he’ll chalk it down as a learning experience.
“After we recover from that, it’s a great measuring stick and the level of competition is extremely high so hopefully our guys understand, and we’ll come out tomorrow and get back to work and hopefully improve.”