Boil it down, and basketball’s simple: score more points than the other team. The Buccaneers make that task even easier by ensuring the other team finds it especially difficult to find points.

With Zac Olson and Dallas McBroom combining to average more than 40 points per game, it would be easy to think about offense first for the Waterville-Elysian-Morristown boys basketball team. But the real story behind the Bucs’ success this season has been their stifling defense.

Sporting a 23-3 regular season record that included an 18-game winning streak to end the year, the Buccaneers allowed just 45.9 points per game during the regular season. That helped them earn the No. 1 seed in Section 2AA-South.

They held opponents to less than 45 points 15 times and allowed more than 50 just six times all year.

“We’ve had nights where we haven’t shot well but when you defend, you are always in a game,” said assistant coach Ty Kaus. “We’ve been a good on-ball team. We’re getting better in our helpside and our gaps. We put a lot of time into it and it’s showing.”

Some of that might be pace-related, as WEM doesn’t necessarily play at a blistering speed. The Bucs won’t ever be accused of playing too slow though either.

Perhaps the more impressive number regarding the WEM defense is two. Two times this season have teams scored more than their season average against the Bucs this season. United South Central scored 61 in the second game of the year and averaged 49.4 points per game on the year. In the rematch, the Rebels mustered just 34 points. Medford averaged 38.2 points per game on the year and hit 46 in the second of three meetings with WEM this season.

Jordan won 23 games on the year, using a high-powered offense to the tune of 75 points per game. The Buccaneers held the Hubmen to 70 — with the benefit an extra overtime session. New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva shared the Gopher Conference regular season title with WEM and won 24 games. The Panthers play excellent defense as well, but their ability to stress teams with guys like Oakley Baker and Benji Lundberg on the outside, as well as 6-foot-8 Tyler Raimann inside makes them incredibly dangerous. They averaged 63.5 points per game on the season but scored just 50 and 55 points in the two meetings with the Bucs.

So what’s allowed them to be so stingy? Having good athletes and good defenders is a good place to start.

That all starts with Logan Sendle. The senior guard scores a little bit and runs the offense like an extension of the coaching staff on the floor. But his impact is most greatly felt on the defensive end where he can be found harassing whoever the opposing team’s best perimeter player is.

He brings a toughness and feistiness that end of the floor that few high school players provide, and his ability to play physical without fouling keys the entire operation.

Last year he was easily the team’s top defender. He’s this team’s best defender too. But the gap between him and the next guy is a lot narrower now. WEM has three or four other guys on the perimeter that can get defend at a high level.

“Logan does a lot of things really well and he’s the guy we typically put on an opposing team’s top guys,” said Kaus. “We’re confident in our other guys. We can mix it up. We can put Dallas on a kid because he’s a little longer. We can put Thomas [Hiller] on them because he’ll pester guys. We’ve got different guys that give teams different looks. Logan definitely sets the tone.”

McBroom’s taken his overall game to another level this season. There isn’t much he doesn’t do on the basketball court, whether it’s handling the ball and creating shots for himself or his teammates, knocking down 3-pointers or rebounding inside. He’s also a versatile defender capable of guarding four positions on the court.

Tanner Ranslow’s had his share of good moments on the offensive end thanks to his ability to knock down shots and play effectively off the ball. He’s earned big minutes as just a sophomore thanks to his reliability on the defensive end.

Hiller had to wait his turn to earn playing time and he’s made the most of it in his senior season. He rarely puts up shots, but he’s become a very solid defender on the perimeter and he plays the same pesky style as Sendle.

“When it comes to keeping guys in front of him, he’s our best defender,” said Hiller of Sendle. “Any one of us can guard a team’s best player I think.”

The Bucs have the ability to play big with Olson and another post player like Luke Polzin or Bradley Edel, or go small with Olson inside surrounded by a combination of Sendle, McBroom, Ranslow, Hiller and Bladyn Bartelt.

When people think options in basketball, they think scoring options. The Bucs have a lot of options defensively.

“Thomas Hiller, Dallas he can guard a big or a guard, that’s why we’re so good,” said Sendle. “We can switch up top. That makes things so much easier. You don’t have to run off screens, pick up stupid fouls, things like that.”

And that’s just on the perimeter. For all the attention he’s garnered for his scoring prowess, Olson is a very good defender as well. He’s got the versatility to defend on the perimeter but also the size and strength to control the paint. He’s not tested very often when it comes to defending good low-post scoring big men, but his help defense in important because it allows all those guards to be so disruptive up top.

“When you can minimize breakdowns and make teams take tough shots, it makes you pretty tough to beat,” said Kaus. “As an offensive player when you are staring down two guys in a gap and a tough guy straight up on you, there’s not a lot you can do.”

WEM was a solid defensive team a year ago and the Bucs’ season turned when they embraced playing tough on that end. With guys like Kallen Dorenkemper and Tyler Tegmeier, offense was naturally a strength. Defense took a little more prodding.

This group doesn’t need that kind of push. The identity is defense.

“If you ask [coach Wagner] we work on defense probably 95 percent of the time,” said Sendle with a chuckle. “So we should be a defensive minded team. Defense wins championships and the goal is to get to state.”

If WEM is going to get where it wants to go this year, it will likely need to win games against NRHEG and Jordan again. Both of those teams have great collections of individual talent and there isn’t much difference between any of the three. But the Bucs are built to weather any storm in part because they’ve got a lot of experience and great coaching, but also because their defense won’t let a game get away from them.

“If we’re not shooting well, we feel like we can fall back on our defense still,” said Hiller. “That helps us a lot. The one thing that has been consistent with us is our defense.”

Matt Bigelow covers sports for the Daily News. You can reach him at 507-333-3129 or online via Twitter @FDNMattBigelow