Double dip: MHS girls beaten 69-65 in overtime by Waterford

WATERFORD – Waterford senior Brooke Drayer hit the 1,000 career points mark as Waterford bested Marietta 69-65 in an overtime thriller Saturday night at Waterford High School.

Marietta, trailing 48-39 after three quarters, outscored Waterford 21-12 in the final quarter to tie the game at 60-60 and send it to overtime.

Chelsey Paxton opened overtime with a free throw. Paxton missed her second attempt, but Taylor Hilverding got the rebound and drew the foul. She then nailed both of her free throw attempts put the Lady Wildcats up 63-60.

Marietta standout Erica Dawson scored back-to-back buckets to give the Lady Tigers a 64-63 lead, but Hilverding again sank a pair of freebies to flip flop the lead back in Waterford’s favor.

After Kristen Hill hit a free throw to tie the game at 65-65, Hilverding scored the game’s final four points to give Waterford a big non-conference win.

Hilverding led Waterford with 20 points and came up with several clutch baskets and free throws.

“I didn’t really care about anything else at that point,” Hilverding said of the pressure. “I just wanted to win. It definitely feels good.”

Hannah Dailey chipped in with 15 markers and Randee Seevers added 10. Brooke Drayer poured in eight points and a game-high four assists before fouling out in the fourth quarter. Drayer scored her 1,000th point on the first shot attempt of the game early in the first quarter to put Waterford up 2-0. “A lot of people came out because they knew I was going to get it,” Drayer said. “The community just makes it so much better because they are rooting me on. The community is great.”

“She’s started for four years for us,” said Waterford head coach Jerry Close. “What an accomplishment. She’s done a nice job. Maybe didn’t have her best performance tonight. Got herself in foul trouble, but what a player. She does a nice job of taking care of us.”

After the game was paused briefly to honor Drayer, Hilverding connected on back-to-back layups to put the Wildcats up 6-0. Dawson got Marietta on the board with a 3-pointer to cut the deficit in half. Dailey and Dawson then traded a pair of free throws before Smith put in a layup to make it 8-7 in Waterford’s favor. A layup from Alexis Walsh gave Marietta its first lead of the game before Drayer put Waterford back on top with a jumper. Dawson then drained a mid-range shot of her own followed by a free throw from Walsh to give the Tigers a 12-10 advantage.

Dailey then scored five straight points before a basket from Allie Moore made it 15-14 in Waterford’s favor at the end of one quarter.

The Wildcats opened the second quarter on a 10-4 run to take a 25-18 lead. A layup from Luisa Barton made it 25-20 before Paxton and Regan Porter combine for four straight points to make it 29-20. Four points from Moore helped the Tigers cut it to 32-24 at halftime.

Marietta began to close the gap in the third quarter. Trailing 36-29, Marietta hit three straight layups, two from Dawson and one from Kaitlyn Cozzens to cut it to 36-35. Hilverding hit a freebie before Barton hit two of her own to tie it up at 37-37. Waterford then went on an 11-0 run, paced by two baskets from Seevers, to make it 48-37. Cozzens notched a steal and a layup to make it 48-39 at the end of the quarter.

Early in the fourth, Hilverding and Dani Drayer each hit 3-pointers to extend Waterford’s lead to 53-41. Smith scored six straight points, capped by a trey, to make it 53-47. Dawson followed with a layup before Dailey hit a pair of free throws. Dawson then scored five of Marietta’s next six points to put the Tigers on top at 56-55. Then, after a steal by Smith, Hill connected on a jumper to make it 58-55. After Seevers hit a big 3-ball to tie it, Dawson and Hilverding traded buckets to tie it at 60-60. The Tigers had an open look at the buzzer, but could not capitalize, sending the game to overtime.

“Our kids played with a lot of heart and a lot of emotion tonight,” Close said. “We played really hard. We made a lot of mistakes, but we overcame a lot of mistakes and overcame a lot of foul trouble. We played most of the fourth quarter and all of overtime with two starters (Brooke Drayer and Dailey) sitting on the bench. We kept our composure down the stretch. We made a lot of mistakes because of our youth but games like this are what makes you grow up. I feel like we took a big step tonight. That’s a great team and a great team win for us.”

Dawson led everyone with 30 points, playing the majority of the game in foul trouble before finally fouling out in overtime.

Marietta shot 23-for-71 (32 percent) from the floor compared to 22-of-48 (46 percent) for the Wildcats.

Waterford turned the ball over a whopping 30 times, but made the shots when they counted.

Dailey and Smith each led their respective teams with six rebounds apiece, while Dailey and Dawson each had a game-high four steals.

“I’m just proud of the kids,” Close said. “Every kid who played tonight contributed and did what we asked them to do. It’s hard to make a team believe that they can beat somebody like a Marietta with a player like Dawson, but these kids believed. My hat’s off to them.”

Close’s squad improved to 10-2 on the season with the win while the Scott Cozzens-led Tigers fell to 9-2.

Marietta plays again today when it hosts Wheeling Park, while Waterford travels to play Federal Hocking today.

Marietta and Waterford are scheduled to square off again Feb. 11 at Sutton Gym.