STEWART – In a rematch of a Tri-Valley Conference contest earlier this year, Waterford and Federal Hocking faced off again, this time at Federal Hocking. While the Lancers managed to upset the Wildcats the first time these two teams met by a final of 44-38, this time they were not so lucky. Waterford got its revenge this go-round, controlling the game on defense and winning by a final of 44-25.
Both teams played very methodical to start in the first quarter, taking the time to set up plays. It was a very defensive quarter, with only 10 points scored. Kendall Sury went 4-of-4 from the line in the quarter to help Waterford get out in front of the Lancers. At the end of the first, the score stood at 8-2 Waterford.
Ali Franchino of the Wildcats contributed the first triple of the game in the second. Federal Hocking’s Takira Walker responded in kind. A steal midway through the second by Laykyn Jones set up a trifecta by Sury on the same possession. It was still a very defensive game, though both offenses were beginning to warm up. The Wildcats led 21-7 going into halftime.
Three-pointers early in the third by Elsie Malec and Jones helped Waterford extend its lead. Jones also managed to block a Lancer’s shot moments later. About halfway through the third, Federal Hocking took a timeout down 33-11. Before the end of the third, Walker contributed a 3 to help cut the deficit. Going into the final quarter, the Wildcats were up 37-16.
It was more of the same in the fourth, with Waterford’s defense keeping the Wildcats in control. During the final quarter, Avery Wagner had a block on a shot by Walker for her third of the night. Federal Hocking’s Walker had a game-high 16 points. Sury led the Wildcats with 15, and Wagner was one behind her at 14. Wagner also led all players in rebounds with eight. Jones had a total of three steals by the end of the game, as did the Lancers’ Brenlee Cottrill.
Wildcats head coach Jerry Close said of the game, “Defensively, we played well tonight. That’s what we pride ourselves on, and that’s what we gotta do to win, so I thought we did a nice job containing them.”
On whether the last game between these two teams was a motivating factor, Close commented, “We use every game as a motivation. These last two weeks of our season are really brutal, so we’ve gotta take them one at a time to get ready for the tournament.”
Next up on Waterford’s schedule is a home game against Warren at 7:15 p.m. against Warren.
“We put that game on there to get ready for the tournament. We’re excited about it. It was a good game last time. Definitely looking forward to that one,” said Close of the upcoming contest against the Warriors.