Waterford girls advance to the district final

Outscores its opponent in the first half

JACKSON — Waterford High scored more points in the first quarter than Portsmouth Clay did in the whole game.

Staking itself to a 22-2 opening period advantage, the Wildcats cruised to a 52-20 triumph over the Panthers in an Ohio Division IV district girls’ basketball semifinal at Jackson High Sunday afternoon.

“We got off to a really good start,” said WHS head coach Jerry Close. “And, I think that’s very important in these tournament games to come out with intensity, and I thought we did a nice job of that today.”

Waterford, top-ranked in D4 with an 18-1 record, advances and is scheduled to play either second-seeded Glenwood or sixth-seeded Miller in a district final at 6:15 p.m. Thursday at Jackson High.

Clay exits with a 15-7 mark.

The Wildcats were paced by Alli Kern’s 17 points. Megan Ball and Rachael Adams each added 13, while Hannah Duff netted five markers.

“That’s what’s good about this team, everybody’s contributing,” Close said. “The kids off the bench are coming in and doing a nice job defensively and offensively. That’s what makes those kids special.”

The Panthers -who had no cager in double digits – were led by Sophia Balestra and Jensen Warnock, who had six points apiece.

Adams, Duff, Kern, and Ball each had a score to give Waterford a quick 10-0 advantage. At the 5:26 mark, PC called timeout, and when play was resumed, the Cats scored 12 more points to make it 22-0.

The Panthers averted a first-quarter blanking when Sydney Osborn made a bucket in the last minute of play.

Kern finished the opening stanza with 11 points.

“We came out right off the bat really strong,” she said. “We started out in what we call 40 which is on-the-ball pressure fullcourt. We knew that if we gave them full pressure in at the beginning and got off to a good start, that would be good for us.”

In the second period, Ball and Adams each had four points as Waterford stretched its advantage and led 34-6 at halftime.

“You’ve got to maintain the intensity,” said Close of his halftime talk. “I just feel like you have to stay focused on what you’re doing and play hard the whole time.”

Adams had the hot hand in the third quarter, scoring seven points. When the junior sharpshooter knocked down a three, it put the Wildcats up 47-10. With a 37-point advantage, the green and white benefitted from a running clock for the remainder of the contest.

“Everybody did really well today,” Kern said. “We passed the ball around really well, and we did a really good job of working together.”