WILMINGTON — Waynesville avenged one-possession losses to Wilmington in each of the last two seasons with a 37-31 victory at Fred Summers Court Tuesday.
The 2021 meeting shaped up to be a nail-biter early with three ties and three lead changes in the first quarter and a half of play.
Even after Waynesville broke a 13-all deadlock with six straight points on the last half of the sceond quarter, Wilmington never trailed by more than those six points for most of the next quarter.
But the Spartans (10-1) went on a 13-2 run from the 1:02 mark of the third quarter to the 1:oo mark of the fourth quarter to turn a 23-21 margin into a 36-23 cushion with a minute left in the game.
Wilmington (3-4), sparked by a pair of Katie Murphy threes, had a late run to set the final margin.
“We can’t wait until the last minute-and-a-half to score in the fourth quarter,” Wilmington head coach Zach Williams said. “We just have to clean things up. We played defensively well enough to be in this game. We have to step up our offensive tempo, and be a little more consistent on that in practice so it transfers to the games.
“I think we got tired a little bit. We’re battling with six girls. Girls are logging a lot of minutes. Hopefully with this break coming up, we’ll get some legs back and power through the second half of the season with a full squad come the new year.”
Murphy led the Hurricane with 10 points. KeAsia Robinson chipped in with nine points, all of them coming in the first half.
Elli Cassoni led Waynesville with 15 points, including going 6-of-7 at the free-throw line in the fourth quarter.
The Hurricane return to action Jan. 4 at Little Miami.
December 21, 2021
@Fred Summers Court
Waynesville 37 Wilmington 31
(37) WAYNESVILLE (fg-ft-tp) Stupp 0-0-0, E. Whitaker 4-1-9, Van Schaik 3-0-7, Bailey 0-0-0, Cassoni 5-5-15, Greely 2-0-4, A. Whitaker 1-0-2. Total 15-6-37. 3-point goals: 1 (Van Schaik). FTM-FTA 6-14, 43 percent.
(31) WILMINGTON (fg-ft-tp) Schuster 1-0-2, Robinson 4-1-9, Huffman 2-0-4, Martin 2-0-4, Murphy 4-0-10, Diels 0-2-2. Total 13-3-37. 3-point goals: 2 (Murphy 2). FTM-FTA 2-7, 29 percent.
Shawn Robinson covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @twinzdad01.