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Behind Smith, Warriors take care of Waterford, 51-28

WATERFORD — A double-double seems to be becoming an every game occurrence for Warren junior Abbie Smith.

For the third time in three tries Smith reached double digits in both points and rebounds as she led the Lady Warriors to a convincing 51-28 road win over the Waterford Lady Wildcats Monday evening.

Smith tossed in 20 points, including a dozen in the second half while yanking down a game-high 12 boards as the Warriors improved to 2-1 on the young season.

“I think she is so strong inside that she just wears the other team down,” said Warren head coach Amy Way of her junior post. “She lives in the weight room and she is so strong inside and our guards found her tonight and were making great passes.”

Warren jumped out to a 12-4 lead at the end of the first quarter keyed by a pair of three-pointers by senior Savannah Banks.

Baskets by Smith and sophomore Sophie Cochran to open the second quarter pushed the visitors lead to 12 and after a Wildcat deuce by Madi Hiener temporarily slowed their momentum the Warriors answered with a 9-0 run sparked by a triple from sophomore Alex Frazee and a pair of driving buckets from senior Olivia Alloway to extend their lead to 25-6 late in the opening half.

A Mackenzie Suprano field goal for Waterford snapped the Warren run.

However, Smith finished out the first half with back-to-back inside baskets to help send her team to the intermission with a commanding 29-8 lead.

To say the Warriors were able to share the basketball in the first half would be a major understatement as they tallied 10 assists on their 13 first half field goals including two assists apiece by each of the five members of the Warren starting lineup.

“We had girls maybe passing up shots that they might have taken a game ago,” said Way, whose Lady Warriors totaled 17 assists in the game on 21 made field goals. “They weren’t necessarily terrible shots but they were passing it up for a better shot and really looking to find each other.”

The Wildcats managed to put together a little bit of a run to open the second half as a short jumper by senior Riley Schweikert and three-pointer from Suprano cut the lead to 16 before Smith and her teammates answered in a big way.

Smith’s three-point play off of an assist from Frazee started a 8-0 Warrior run and pushed the lead to a game-high 24 points.

Counting the final four points of the first half, Smith scored 12 consecutive points for her team as the Wildcats simply had no answer for her under the basket.

“I thought we were moving the ball exceptionally well and taking good quality shots,” said Way, whose team connected on 21-of-40 field goal attempts in the game. “Our shot selection was very good and we were able to get the ball inside the paint and that was a key.”

The Wildcats managed to win the final quarter by a 12-10 count but that would not be near enough as they fell to 1-1 on the young season.

Waterford played the game minus a couple of players as well as head coach Jerry Close who was a scratch 30 minutes before the game due to beginning quarantine.

Assistant coach Todd Hilverding took over the reigns for the Wildcats.

“Warren’s a really good basketball team and they were able to take us out of our comfort zone,” said Hilverding. “They are big and strong and physical and that pushed us out of what we wanted to do.”

Smith proved to be the only Warrior to reach double figures but Warren got strong contributions from Frazee with seven points as well as Alloway, Banks and Millie Ryan with six apiece.

Waterford was led by Suprano with 12 points while Cara Taylor added six.

The Wildcats are scheduled to be right back in action Thursday when they travel to Eastern while the Warriors are currently not scheduled to play again until December 19 when they travel to New Philadelphia.

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