Warren boys best Waverly for district title
ALBANY — Warren turned up the defense in the second half here Saturday night at Alexander High School and the Warriors punched their ticket to the Sweet 16 by taking out Waverly, 70-55, in a Division II district final.
Trey Robertson scored 18 of his game-high 25 points in the first half, but Joel Chevalier and his teammates held him in check after the break.
The Tigers (20-4) got consecutive buckets by Zeke Brown and Robertson to go up 34-33 at 5:36 of the third, but Warren responded by scoring 16 straight points in a span of 3:31 to take control. A 3 by Gage Wheeler via a Will Futhey assist finally snapped a dry run of 4:45, but Seth Dennis’ buzzer-beating jumper put Warren ahead 51-37 entering the final eight minutes.
“At halftime we were a little upset,” said Dennis, who went for 21 points and a game-high seven assists as Waverly held a 30-28 lead at the break. “We let Trey get some open 3s in transition. He made them all. He’s a good shooter. A real good shooter. Player of the year, actually, in (the Southeast) district (Division) 2. Congratulations to him, but I thought Joel did a really good job second half guarding him. Amazing job.
“To show how good he did, whenever I guarded him he scored every time. Joel did a great job. I was proud of that kid. We’re going to prep this week. We think we got a real chance. We’re going to go hard at it, try to improve and get it done next week.”
The 17-3 Warriors of head man Blane Maddox, who also got 17 points and three blocks from Jake Baumgard as well as 14 counters by Chevalier, will take on Meadowbrook at 8 p.m. Thursday at Southeastern High School in a regional semifinal.
“Those seniors just refused. They weren’t going to lose this game,” said Maddox, whose squad held a 32-14 edge on the boards with Brayden Sallee grabbing a game-high nine caroms.” They wanted to make history and wanted to make their mark on Warren basketball.
“I’m grateful and happy. Thank you players. Thank you. These guys were determined since day one. This was the goal and they got it done. I’m so happy for them.”
Kurt Taylor, who finished with seven points, six boards, five assists and a trio of steals, started and ended the pivotal 16-0 run.
Waverly never got it to single digits in the fourth. The Tigers tried to use traps and their press to get back into it, but that just led to easy baskets by Baumgard, who scored 11 of his tallies in the period. That included a three-point play to put the Warriors ahead 66-48 with 1:42 remaining.
“It’s just a big game,” Baumgard said. “My team just found me in the back and I just made the layups. It’s unbelievable right now. It feels great. Coach had a good game plan and we just had to execute and that’s all we did in the second half.”
Warren, which got six points from Sallee, a 3 by Dennis Pettey and a deuce from Gavin Ott, knocked down 11 of 13 charity stripe tosses in the fourth.
“We knew this was going to be a tough defensive game coming into it,” Chevalier admitted. “Robertson is averaging probably around 30 right now. We knew we had to come in and shut him down and try to let the other people beat us.
“When I couldn’t guard him my teammates stepped up and helped out. It’s a huge accomplishment. Second team in school history to do this. It’s a great honor. We’ve just been working all of our lives for this moment.”
Brown added 10 points in the setback, Wheeler had seven while Futhey scored six and had a team-high six rebounds.
Contact Jay Bennett at firstname.lastname@example.org