WAVERLY — When Waverly’s Trey Robertson doesn’t score in a quarter, that’s usually bad news for the talented and highly-touted Tigers.
Then again, this is NOT your usual season — and the Tigers didn’t miss a third-quarter beat against the visiting Valley Indians on Friday night.
Despite the junior scoring machine Robertson only attempting one third-quarter shot, the remaining Tigers —minus big man Will Futhey in fact — picked up the slack, and outscored the Indians 22-10 in the period en route to capturing a 64-52 Southern Ohio Conference Division II victory inside Waverly’s historic Downtown Arena.
Take away the third frame, and Waverly won the first quarter 15-14, Valley claimed the fourth by the same count —and the two teams tied 13-13 in the second stanza.
But the Tigers’ initial onslaught began with a halftime buzzer-beater by Mark Stulley, which put them in front at 28-27.
A 6-0 Valley run over a span of 46 seconds then reduced a 39-31 deficit to two (39-37) at the 2:54 mark, but Waverly went off for the final 13 points of the quarter —posting a pair of 13-points leads (48-35 and 50-37) for their largest of the contest in the process.
With the loss, the Indians —which had won six of seven games since returning to the court in late January after a coronavirus quarantine — dipped to 10-8, and to 8-6 in the SOC II.
Waverly, meanwhile, continued its hot streak — winning its 11th consecutive affair and raising its record to 17-3.
The Tigers are once again the SOC II runner-up, as they are 13-2 in the division —with only the rematch at Valley, which was postponed on Saturday night, remaining.
Waverly was set to host Adena on Tuesday night in an important late-season non-league battle —being the records are what they are and with the 19-2 Warriors winning the Scioto Valley Conference.
The Tigers topped the Indians on Friday night, though, with Robertson roaring for 25 points —on 7-of-15 shooting and a perfect 10-of-10 free throws.
That’s par for the course with Waverly —although the Tigers took off for 22 third-period points, with Robertson taking only one shot.
Zeke Brown bagged 17 points on 7-of-10, including a perfect 4-of-4 along with a free throw in the third —as fellow 6-3 big Phoenix Wolf was 2-of-2 in the canto, as part of eight points on 4-of-6.
All this, and the Tigers were without the 6-5 Futhey —who was suspended due to disciplinary reasons.
“The best thing about the third quarter was that we went on that run, and didn’t have to rely on Trey to get us buckets. For us to get points without him scoring, that’s huge for us. Hopefully, we can continue to get production out of those guys (Brown, Wolf and Futhey) offensively,” said Waverly coach Travis Robertson. “If everybody does their job on this team, we’re pretty good and are a tough team to beat. We rely on each of these kids to do certain things.”
Valley head coach Norm Persin chastised his team for its lack of “physicality” against the Tigers — when they especially needed to be.
Wolf paced Waverly with 10 rebounds, while Brown and Robertson rebounded six apiece.
The Indians only grabbed 21 boards, leading Persin to proclaim “they killed us on the glass”.
“Our kids played with no physicality. We are not a physical team. They don’t want any part of being physical. That’s just the way they are,” said Persin, bluntly.
The Indians’ downfall Friday night began in the final minute-and-a-half of the first half —when Waverly was the beneficiary of a Valley offensive foul, getting the ball back and actually running the clock down and holding for the final shot.
Robertson drove inside of 10 seconds, but Wolf got the rebound and swung the ball back on the left wing to Stulley —who swished the open three-ball to beat the buzzer.
“Why did they hit the three at the end of the half? Because we didn’t rebound the ball. They got a shot, they got a tip, they got the rebound and then threw it back out for the three,” said Persin. “That was the whole thing in the game.”
It indeed was a tide-turner in favor of the Tigers.
Brown scored on the opening possession of the third, and although Bryce Stuart sank a three-pointer at the 6:35 mark for the Indians’ last lead at 31-30, Waverly wouldn’t waver.
Instead, sandwiched around an Indian turnover —Gage Wheeler drained a pair of corner-pocket three-pointers off assists by Wolf, and an old-fashioned three-point play attempt by Brown made it eight unanswered (38-31) over the next 2:10.
Stulley then started the 13-0 run to end the quarter with another triple —as Brown scored off an inbounds lob from Robertson, and a Robertson steal and downfloor pass to Wolf made it 48-35.
Another Brown bucket off a Stulley inbounds pass made it 50-37 by period’s end.
Needless to say, but Persin was displeased.
“That third quarter was one of the worst defensive performances that one of our teams has ever had. Nobody guarded anybody,” he said. “(Zeke) Brown is a man, he is a really nice post player who plays very physical and he just beat our kids up. Then (Phoenix) Wolf is a great athlete too. It comes down to a strength factor. You’re talking about seniors playing against sophomores and freshmen, and they are going to beat on us a little bit. We have to do a better job with it.”
Valley scored just three third-quarter field goals —along with three Ty Perkins foul shots.
George Arnett, who paced the Indians with 17 points on 4-of-6 from inside the arc along with 3-of-5 from three, also did not take a shot in the third.
Perkins pumped in 13 points on four field goals and 4-of-7 free throws, as Stuart (seven points), Jace Copley (six points) and Carter Nickel (five points) all hit a trifecta apiece.
Valley shot 40-percent from the field on 20-of-50, but only took 10 of those shots in the third —on five deuces and five treys.
“At halftime, we just decided to set down in the half-court and quarter-court and be tough defensively, make them do things they didn’t want to do,” said Coach Robertson. “We made some shots, but I thought our defense in the third quarter was the reason we got going.”
The Tigers shot a fiery 57.5-percent on 23-of-40, including a sizzling 60-percent (18-of-30) from inside the arc.
And, all of that was without Trey Robertson scoring in the third.
The Indians are scheduled to return home, and return to SOC II action, on Thursday night with a makeup matchup against West.
Valley 14 13 10 15 — 52
Waverly 15 13 22 14 — 64
VALLEY 52 (10-8, 8-6 SOC II)
George Arnett 7 0-0 17, Jace Copley 2 0-0 6, Ty Perkins 4 4-7 13, Carter Nickel 2 0-0 5, Cody Metzler 1 0-1 2, Colt Buckle 1 0-0 2, Bryce Stuart 3 0-0 7; TOTALS 20 4-8 52; Three-point field goals: 8 (George Arnett 3, Jace Copley 2, Ty Perkins, Bryce Stuart and Carter Nickel 1 apiece)
WAVERLY 64 (17-3, 13-2 SOC II)
Mark Stulley 2 0-0 6, Gage Wheeler 3 0-2 8, Trey Robertson 7 10-10 25, Zeke Brown 7 3-7 17, Phoenix Wolf 4 0-2 8, Eli Crabtree 0 0-0 0; TOTALS 23 13-21 64; Three-point field goals: 5 (Mark Stulley and Gage Wheeler 2 apiece, Trey Robertson 1)
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @BoggsSports © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved