Defiance proved to be too devastating from long range for Wauseon in a Division II district boys basketball final Saturday at Central Catholic.
The Bulldogs buried 10 3-pointers in a 56-42 triumph over the Indians.
Defiance swingman Katwan Singleton pumped in a game-high 19 points, while guard Will Batt drained four 3-pointers — all in the first half — for 12 points.
Shay Smiddy scored 11 points, including three 3-pointers, and Trey Guilliam added 10 points for Defiance, which sank more baskets from beyond the arc than inside it. The Bulldogs made seven two-point baskets.
Defiance coach Kirk Lehman believes the stellar shooting effort from 3-point territory was certainly key in getting past a physically imposing Wauseon team.
"I thought it really did two things for us today," Lehman said. "It made us relax a little bit. When you're in a district final you're a little nervous sometimes. I thought Will [Batt] hitting those early really helped us loosen up, and then it loosened up their defense a little bit on our post players too."
The final score wasn't quite indicative of how the Indians played. Despite Batt's first-half shooting prowess, Defiance only led 28-21 at the break.
Yet the Indians, who made four 3-pointers in the game, never outscored the Bulldogs in any quarter and trailed 43-32 after three periods. Overcoming the sizzling outside shooting by the Bulldogs (22-3) was simply too much for the Indians (19-7).
"Give credit to them," Wauseon coach Chad Burt said. "Will Batt came to play I thought early on. Singleton hit a 3 kind of in transition, and I hadn't seen him really do a lot of that. Guilliam hit a shot I thought we actually fouled him on from about 23 feet.
"They just shot the ball extremely well."
Wauseon's Corry Byers and Noah Castle scored 12 points each, while Jacob Newlove added eight and Zach Johnson finished with six. Kris Boysel, who scored a team-high 16 points in Wauseon's 57-55 district semifinal win over Scott, was held to two points.
The Bulldogs, who will face Lima Bath on Thursday, got things rolling early on and basically never let up for four quarters.
Defiance came into the game feeling confident about a team it had already defeated earlier in the season.
"This shows that we can do anything we want and are capable of beating anybody we want," Singleton said. "We want to carry this over into the next game."
Guilliam, a senior, said the Bulldogs had the focus to get the job done dating back to the first weeks of the season.
"We worked all year to get here," Guilliam said. "Two years ago we got to the district finals and got beat. To get past that this year feels awesome.
"I'd say I'd wanted this game more than any game I've ever wanted. To get the farthest I've ever gone with this team, being a senior, it meant so much. The atmosphere was great. We knew Wauseon would bring a lot of people and we knew our community would back us up. It was a great feeling, great day, great win."