Waverly wins regional title


Staff report



The 2021-22 Waverly Tigers are the Division II boys basketball regional champions following Saturday’s 46-45 overtime victory over Heath inside Ohio University’s Convocation Center.

The 2021-22 Waverly Tigers are the Division II boys basketball regional champions following Saturday’s 46-45 overtime victory over Heath inside Ohio University’s Convocation Center.


Courtesy of Julie Billings | Pike County News-Watchman

ATHENS — It has been since 1970 when Waverly’s Tigers last advanced to the state tournament in boys basketball.

So, why not work a little — or even a lot of — overtime in capturing their first regional championship since then?

The highly-touted, talented, senior-laden and Southern Ohio Conference Division II champion Tigers did just in this year’s Division II Region 7 tournament —climaxed with Saturday’s thrilling 46-45 overtime triumph over Heath in the regional championship bout inside Ohio University’s Convocation Center.

That’s correct, the Waverly Tigers are Region 7 champions —following a pair of extra-session wins in their two regional tournament tilts, including Thursday night’s 50-44 semifinals win over McClain.

Both Waverly and Heath, following Saturday’s outcome, are 23-4 —but it’s the Tigers, and not the tall Bulldogs, which are playing in Friday night’s Division II state semis.

The last time Waverly was in the state semifinals, the Ohio High School Athletic Association classified its division system via “A” “AA” and “AAA” —of which Waverly was a “AA” program.

And, like Thursday night against McClain, while Waverly did not shoot the basketball well, the Tigers still found a way to win.

Probably because defense wins championships, as only Warren has scored more than 50 points against Waverly throughout the Tigers’ tournament run.

“There’s not a group of kids that deserve it more, because we fought our rear ends off to the end. We played awful again offensively, that’s two straight games where percentage-wise, we were not very good. But when you hold Heath to 45 points for 36 minutes, you’re doing something right,” said Waverly coach Travis Robertson, completing his 15th season as the Tigers’ bench boss. “Can’t be more proud of the way we played defensively and on the boards. We started switching some ball screens or fought over the top, depending on who it was instead of doubling them. I felt like in the fourth quarter and overtime, we had them where we wanted them. I can’t ask anything more out of our group, having been completely outmanned and outsized.”

While Waverly had Hudson Kelly at 6-foot-3, Penn Morrison at 6-foot-4, and especially Will Futhey at six-foot and five inches tall, the big Bulldogs had four players at Futhey’s height or taller —and six of at least Kelly’s height or more.

Brandon McLaughlin, the Heath standout senior, stood at six feet and eight inches tall.

But what Waverly may have lacked against the Bulldogs in height, they made up for in speed — and defensive tenacity.

It was a close encounter all the way from opening tip to final buzzer, with Heath holding leads at the opening two stops of 12-10 and 25-24 —with the first half resembling somewhat of a three-point shooting contest, with Waverly making all three of its in the second stanza by Braylon Robertson, Trey Robertson and finally Futhey.

Kelly scored six of his eight points on three first-quarter field goals, as Mark Stulley and Trey Robertson registered first-quarter buckets — before Robertson split a pair of free throws and had another deuce, while Morrison made a basket in the second.

For the Bulldogs, a dozen of their 25 first-half points came via way of the three-point arc —including Grayson Shumate with a second-quarter two, after meshing 2-of-2 first-quarter free throws.

McLaughlin landed one in the second for his eighth point of the half, as Reece Huber had a first-quarter triple — while Josh Guy garnered two field goals.

But Waverly won the second 16 minutes 15-13 —as McLaughlin’s only other points came in the third period, as he fouled out in overtime.

The Tigers got two Robertson baskets and one from Kelly in the third, while Robertson and Stulley scored fourth-quarter field goals.

The rest of the second-half damage Robertson did, as the two-time Southeast District Division II Player of the Year spent plenty of time at the free-throw line.

He split a pair in the third, then went 5-of-6 in the fourth —as the Tigers took a late 40-37 lead.

But Heath’s Keylan Williams, with an open three-point look, landed it for the 40-40 tie —and thus another overtime escapade for the Tigers.

However, have no fear for them, for they never trailed in the extra four minutes.

A lob pass for Futhey put Waverly in front 42-40, as Robertson with two more freebies —and splits by Braylon Robertson and Futhey —made it 46-42 Tigers.

With McLaughlin and Williams, who also made a first-quarter deuce, both fouled out —only Huber had Heath’s scoring hand, as he finished with 13 points on five field goals and a split of fourth-quarter foul shots.

He had all five of the Bulldogs’ overtime points, including an immaterial three-pointer at the buzzer.

The other Bulldog three-ball was by Guy —drained in the third to give him seven points.

While Heath hit seven threes to the Tigers’ three, the Tigers forced the Bulldogs to foul late —and thus converted 11 of 17 free throws, compared to the Bulldogs’ 4-of-9.

Heath, which was whistled for 18 total fouls to the Tigers’ eight, had to foul Trey Robertson whether it desired to or not — and Robertson did his part by swishing 9-of-13.

Robertson, for the second consecutive regional game, scored at least 22 points —as his field goals totaled half-a-dozen, and his career total 2,053 (points).

Waverly, which was the eighth-ranked team in the final Division II Associated Press statewide poll, will now play 22-5 Gates Mills Gilmour — in Friday night’s second state semifinal.

Tipoff in University of Dayton Arena is set for 8:30 p.m.

* * *

Waverly 10 14 7 9 6 — 46

Heath 12 13 7 8 5 — 45

WAVERLY 46 (23-4)

Mark Stulley 2 0-0 4, Hudson Kelly 4 0-0 8, Trey Robertson 6 9-13 22, Wade Futhey 0 0-0 0, Braylon Robertson 1 1-2 4, Penn Morrison 1 0-0 2, Will Futhey 2 1-2 6 TOTALS: 16 11-17 46; Three-point field goals: 3 (Trey Robertson, Braylon Robertson and Will Futhey 1 apiece)

HEATH 45 (23-4)

Reece Huber 5 1-2 13, Josh Guy 3 0-0 7, Payton Lees 1 0-0 2, Dalton Gemmell 0 0-0 0, Brandon McLaughlin 4 1-2 10, Grayson Shumate 2 2-2 8, Keylan Williams 2 0-3 5; TOTALS: 17 4-9 45; Three-point field goals: 7 (Reece Huber and Grayson Shumate 2 apiece, Brandon McLaughlin and Keylan Williams 1 apiece)

The 2021-22 Waverly Tigers are the Division II boys basketball regional champions following Saturday’s 46-45 overtime victory over Heath inside Ohio University’s Convocation Center.
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2022/03/web1_Waverly-boys-basketball-regional-champs-A5993.jpgThe 2021-22 Waverly Tigers are the Division II boys basketball regional champions following Saturday’s 46-45 overtime victory over Heath inside Ohio University’s Convocation Center. Courtesy of Julie Billings | Pike County News-Watchman

Staff report

© 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved

© 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved