Hunter Mericle of Jefferson goes up for a shot in Friday's matchup with Wapak. (DHI Media/Joe Dray)
Hunter Mericle of Jefferson goes up for a shot in Friday's matchup with Wapak. (DHI Media/Joe Dray)
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WAPAKONETA — Jefferson topped the Redskins 54-46 in the season opener on Friday night. Hunter Mericle had 13 points and Ian Wannemacher added 11 as the Wildcats soared past Wapak.

“One thing we did a really good job at tonight was sharing the ball,” said Jefferson head coach Jordan Jettinghoff. “That is something I have been preaching in the preseason, trusting one another on offense and allowing everyone to plat their role.”

Jefferson opened with a four quick points as the Redskins struggled to make a shot. Their lead increased to 13-9 on a three-pointer by Damon Wiltsie. Wapak responded with a three by Trey Ware with 1:20 left in the quarter to cut the lead down to one.

The Cats got one back before the end of the quarter and held a 15-12 lead.

The Redskins bounced back early in the second quarter and took the lead from Jefferson. Garrett Siefring hit a three and sparked a short rally for Wapak. The Wildcats moved the ball well and found Doug Long Jr. for a long two-pointer to tie the game at 21-21.

The Redskins tacked on a free throw and ended the first half with a 22-21 advantage.

Halftime adjustments worked well for Jettinghoff as his team opened the second half on a 12-2 run. Mericle hit a jump shot midway through the third quarter to give the Cats a double-digit lead.

Wapak cut into the Jefferson lead before the end of the third quarter as the score held at 36-29.

Long Jr. got the Cats going in the fourth with a two-point bucket and the foul to bring the score to 41-29. The Redskins turned on the pressure late in the quarter and exposed cracks in the Jefferson offense but physical play inside helped the Cats hold off a late game rally.

“This win is a big boost to our program,” Jettinghoff continued. “We finished really well last season and it was good for us to come out and play as a team to get the ‘W’.”

The Wildcats will host Fairview on Dec. 6.

Jefferson 15 6 15 18 - 54

Wapakoneta 12 10 7 17 - 46

Jefferson 54

Hunter Mericle 13, Ian Wannemacher 11, Ashton Moore 10, Doug Long Jr. 9, Colin Bailey 4, Damon Wiltsie 3, Trent Teman 2

Wapakoneta 46

Garrett Siefring 13, Reed Merricle 9, Branden Goulet 9, Kaden Siering 5, Trey Ware 5, Noah Ambos 3, Peyton Debell 2

Junior Varsity

Jefferson 9 11 9 6 - 35

Wapakoneta 8 11 7 0 - 26