Waverly defeats Hillsboro, 55-43

By Kevin Colley - kcolley@aimmediamidwest.com

Behind a balanced scoring effort, which was led by a fantastic all-around effort from Zoiee Smith, the Waverly Tigers’ girls basketball program was able to garner a victory in its final home outing of the 2017-18 campaign as Waverly obtained a victory over the Hillsboro Indians’ girls basketball program, 55-43, on Thursday evening in Waverly.

Smith, who has put together a strong freshman campaign, continued her strong play on Thursday as the freshman put up 15 points, seven assists, and five rebounds en route to leading the Lady Tigers to the victory. She scored five of her 15 points in the opening quarter of action as her scoring and distributing abilities were huge in a 19-point frame where Morgan Wiseman and Hailey Robinson also canned treys in the quarter.

Kami Knight, who scored five of her seven points, aided a balanced Waverly attack that saw four of its five starters (Carli Knight, Kami Knight, Smith, and Wiseman) score in the frame, along with Hailey Robinson.

In the second quarter of play, Waverly followed up its strong offensive output in the opening frame with excellent play on the defensive end as the Lady Tigers, in fact, held Hillsboro to just six points in the quarter en route to taking a 32-16 halftime advantage, with Carli Knight helping push the Lady Tigers’ advantage out even further as Knight scored six of Waverly’s 13 points in the frame. Knight added six additional points in the second half en route to tying Smith with a game-high 15 points.

“We started out the game playing with intensity and being aggressive on offense and defense,” Waverly head coach John Bonifield said. “I like the way that we pushed the ball down the floor and generated open looks.”

In the third and fourth quarters, points proved to be a little harder to come by for the Lady Tigers. However, Wiseman, a talented scorer in her own right, kept Waverly in control with her output by scoring seven of her 12 points in the second half — including her second and final trey in the third quarter of action — to allow the Lady Tigers to take home the 55-43 win.

“In the second half, we struggled taking care of the basketball and got away from what made us so effective in the first half,” Bonifield said.

Kami Knight added 10 rebounds, three steals, and two assists in addition to her aforementioned seven-point output while Hailey Robinson’s early trey, along with a second-quarter three-ball from Hannah Robinson, rounded out the scoring output. Madi Marsh, who scored nine of her 11 points in the second half of action, Kayden Watson, who obtained eight of her 11 points in the final two stanzas, and Karleigh Hopkins, who combined with Watson to nail all five of her treys and added seven of her 10 points in the opening quarter, were the main contributors for Hillsboro as the Lady Indians also put three players in double-figures.

Waverly, who stands with a 9-12 overall record and a 5-9 SOC II mark, will travel to Portsmouth on Saturday afternoon for its final bout of the regular season.

By Kevin Colley