LIBERTY CENTER — The Tigers enter their Northwest Ohio Athletic League battle with invading Wauseon Friday still looking for consistency on the offensive end of the floor.
Liberty Center coach Greg Badenhop said the Tigers (4-6 overall and 1-0 in the NWOAL) have been playing well on defense. However, with several players missing during the season, the offense has struggled.
“I think our defense has played well enough to keep us in many games,” said Badenhop. “We have held teams under their (scoring) average most games and seven or eight times we have held teams to shooting 40% or less. That will keep you in games.
“On the other side of the ball is where inconsistencies have shown up,” Badenhop continued.
The Tigers are holding teams to 44 points per game, but are scoring only 40 points per game. Badenhop said the fact his team has not had many practices or games at full strength has contributed to the inconsistency on offense.
“We have had only two players play every game, whether it’s being quarantined or not feeling well themselves or injuries,” said the LC coach. “It’s not just games, but practices. One challenge we’ve had is we have had less than 10 practices where our top seven or eight guys have all been there. We are not unique in this, but having a team that is trying to figure out where our chemistry lies, it’s hard.”
Wyatt Leatherman leads the Tigers with 10.0 points per game, but he has played only six games and missed the last two. He is questionable for Friday’s game.
Badenhop said two other starters are currently under quarantine, but are scheduled to be released Thursday.
Evan Conrad is averaging 8.7 points and 8.5 rebounds per game and Cam Krugh is averaging 8.6 points. They, along with Max Phillips, are the only players to have played all 10 games this season.
Wauseon (9-1, 1-0) enters the game with possibly the best one-two scoring punch in the area. Connar Penrod is averaging 15.6 points per game, while Jonas Tester is averaging 14.2 points per game. Both players have missed three games this season.
“The Tester kid and Connar score most of their points,” said Badenhop. “Those two kids are a tough match-up for anybody.”
Badenhop said the Tigers must find a way to score points if they are to be successful against the Indians.
“We’re going to have to find a way to score the basketball with our offensive execution,” he said. “The one thing you know that when you face a Coach (Chad) Burt team they are going to be disciplined. They are not going to give us freebies or give up open shots if they are not supposed to. They are not going to give open shots to kids they don’t want to.
“Our offensive execution has to be as good, or better, than it has been all year,” added Badenhop.
In other NWOAL games Friday, Patrick Henry (4-6, 0-1) hosts Swanton (5-5, 1-0), Archbold (7-3, 1-0) is at Bryan (2-8, 0-1) and Evergreen (9-2, 0-1) travels to Delta (0-9, 0-1).
Patrick Henry also hosts Leipsic Saturday.
In Green Meadows Conference action Friday, Holgate (3-7, 1-1) hosts Hicksville (3-6, 0-2), Wayne Trace (8-3, 1-1) travels to Antwerp (9-0, 1-0), Tinora (2-4, 1-0) hosts Ayersville (5-4, 1-1) and Edgerton (2-3, 1-1) visits Fairview (4-3, 0-0).
Holgate is also in action Saturday, traveling to Fayette.
Napoleon does not have a game this weekend, with the Northern Lakes season not scheduled to begin until Jan. 22.