Suprano helps Wildcats claw past Lancers, 56-29
WATERFORD — After getting off to a sluggish start, Waterford got things in order in a big way in Wednesday night’s 56-29 Tri-Valley Conference victory over the visiting Federal Hocking Lancers.
Leading by just two points at the break, the Wildcats out-pointed Federal Hocking 34-9 in the second half to turn a close ballgame into a blowout win as they improved to 5-2 on the season.
Juniors Mackenzie Suprano and Cara Taylor combined for 34 points to lead the way for the winners.
“We were just in too much of a hurry in the first half and they (Federal Hocking) played well and shot the ball well,” said Waterford head coach Jerry Close. “We had opportunities in the first half and the second half we played with a lot more intensity and were a lot more sure of ourselves.”
The Lancers led by a point after one quarter of play before Taylor opened the second quarter with three straight field goals to give the ‘Cats a 14-9 lead.
The lead swelled to seven midway through the second quarter on back-to-back Wildcat baskets by Suprano and Brianna Offenberger but Federal Hocking got a left handed lay-up from Paige Tolson and a late triple by Brennah Jarvis to cut the lead to 22-20 at the intermission.
Close was quite pleased with his team’s ability to make adjustments at the break and the results were quick as they scored the first seven points of the second half to push their lead to nine.
“We were a little timid at the beginning but credit to our girls for making a nice adjustment at halftime,” said Close. “They came out and got where they needed to be and adjusted well and played much better in the second half.”
Suprano’s basket opened the third quarter on an assist from Taylor and after Suprano followed with a pair of freebies, Taylor scored on an assist from Suprano to make it 28-20.
Another Suprano free throw increased the lead to nine where it remained heading to the final quarter after Tolson and Madi Heiner traded field goals to end the third.
Wildcat post Riley Schweikert spent the majority of the first half on the bench after drawing a pair of early fouls but the senior began to make her presence felt when she opened the final period with an inside score to give Waterford their first double-digit lead of the game.
Tolson scored two more of her team-high 12 points to briefly slow the Wildcat momentum but the white and green went on an 18-2 run to put things out of reach midway through the final period.
Suprano scored 12 of her game-high 19 points in the fourth quarter while also leading the Wildcats in rebounds with 12 and assists with six.
Taylor scored 11 of her 15 points in the first 16 minutes while also yanking down seven rebounds while leading the home team in steals with six.
“That’s what we expect out of them,” said Close of his junior back court. “They love the game, they love to play and every night they are going to give you everything they have got.”
Waterford out-rebounded the Lancers by a healthy 35-20 margin while also shooting 51 percent from the floor (24-47).
The Wildcat defense forced Federal Hocking (6-3) into 22 turnovers in the game including 11 in each half.
“We just need to find some consistency and be able to play,” said Close, whose team like many others has had eight games postponed so far this season. “We have a young team and the more we are able to play I think the better we will get.”
Tolson was the only Lancer to reach double figures while Jarvis and Kylie Tabler knocked down a pair of 3-pointers apiece to finish with six points.
Schweikert added seven points, all coming in the final quarter of play.
The Wildcats are scheduled to visit Belpre on Monday evening.