Pick Your Poison: Riders Offense Toys With Redskins

St. Marys' Carson Fischbach nails a 3-pointer in front of the Wapakoneta student section with 13.5 seconds remaining in the first half — his second trey in a matter of 26.5 seconds — during Friday's Western Buckeye League opener against Wapakoneta. The Roughriders defeated the Redskins 56-40 for their first win against their cross-county foe since March 11, 2015.
Sports Editor

You can try to play inside and defend against a pair of 6-foot-6+ post players or you can try to lock down the handful of shooters on the floor to eliminate any big 3-point baskets; either way you can pick your poison. 

Wapakoneta tried handling Ethan Steger in the paint but the 6-foot-6 senior ripped the Redskins for 10 first-quarter points and eventually left the perimeter wide open for another shooter to step up — this time Carson Fischbach was the beneficiary with a couple of second-quarter 3-pointers — as the Roughriders opened Western Buckeye League play on Friday with a 56-40 rout of cross-county rival Wapakoneta.

“When you have 6-foot-8 inside, the defense is always going to collapse and I’ve told them there’s going to be outside shots galore, you just got to take good shots and if you’re going to shoot them — I don’t care who shoots them — but you’re going to have to make some and that’s the big key, you’ve got to make them,” Roughriders coach Dan Hegemier said. 

St. Marys shot 7-of-16 from beyond the arc and 3-of-6 in the second quarter as the Roughriders continue to put up gaudy 3-point shooting numbers. Inside the paint, Steger finished with 21 points and the team shot 56% from the floor for the game to help the Riders defeat Wapakoneta for the first time since March 11, 2015. The last time a St. Marys team opened a season at 3-1 was the 2005-06 season under head coach Cort Hamilton.

St. Marys (3-1, 1-0 WBL) led early in the opening quarter, but Wapakoneta tied the game with a bucket from Garrett Siefring and took its only lead, 10-9, on a Trey Ware 3-pointer with 52.5 seconds left.

The Roughriders, however, quickly countered with a triple from LeTrey Williams and a bucket and-one from Steger as his shot beat the buzzer to put the Roughriders on top 15-10 as part of their 6-0 run. 

Steger’s bucket and foul capped off his 10-point first quarter, which would eventually lead to a explosive run for St. Marys in the second quarter.

“We had a very good second quarter,” Hegemier said. “Carson came in and gave us a just a great lift there. It was a nice win nice against a really tough, hard-fought team.”

Wapakoneta kept the Riders’ within nine points, but St. Marys concluded the quarter with a 10-0 run as the Redskins finished the quarter 0-for-4 from the floor with three turnovers.

“We let things get away in the second quarter,” said Wapakoneta coach Doug Davis. “They got hot shooting. We were concentrating our defense on the inside and they knocked down 3s.”

St. Marys, in the meantime, capitalized on the Redskins’ micues.

A week removed from Jadin Davis’ dazzling performance where he shot 5-of-7 from downtown and a game-high 21 points and since the last Roughriders’ game that saw four players finish in double figures, another shooter give the team jolt in Fischbach coming off the bench.

Steger connected on a bucket and Williams cashed in on a pair of free throws following a foul when he drove hard to the basket. Gino Johnson got his only bucket of the game to push the lead to 28-15 before back-to-back turnovers for the Redskins turned into back-to-back 3-pointers from the senior Fischbach — his second erupting the gymnasium as the Roughriders led 34-15 at the half. 

Fischbach’s crowd-pleasing shots was a microcosm of how the Roughriders have been shooting from the 3-point line so far this season. 

After Friday’s game the Riders are shooting 45% in their last three contests, helping lead the team with 34-, 20- and 16-point wins at home.

Since the season-opener against Fort Recovery, however, the Roughriders did face adversity in the third quarter when the Redskins revved up their pressure defense to force seven turnovers and five in the final seven Roughriders’ possession. 

“We got a ways to go,” Hegemier said. “We’re up big and we just didn’t handle ourselves as well as what I would have liked when they put that pressure on. That is something we’ll work on.”

That allowed the Redskins to go on an 11-0 run from the 3:10 mark of the third quarter to the 6:54 mark of the fourth quarter to cut the Riders’ lead to 48-29.

St. Marys shot no worse than 40% in every quarter on Friday — including its 7-of-12 clip (58.3%) in the second quarter where the Riders outscored Wapakoneta 19-5 to jump out to the large halftime lead.

Steger’s 21 points led the team as the big man is averaging 18 points per game during St. Marys’ early-season three-game win streak. He was followed by Williams’ 12 points and eight points from Max Mielke. Fischbach chipped in with his six second-quarter points.