With the end of the regular season rapidly approaching, many teams are getting their final regular season games played, while also celebrating their current seniors. That was the case in Atwater, Ohio Thursday evening when The Waterloo Lady Vikings hosted their senior night. Celebrating three key players for the program the last few years with Rose Couts, Jewel Lilley and Abby Mazur all playing in their final regular season game. With emotions running high, there was still a job to be done as The Vikings welcomed a crossover matchup in The Mahoning Valley Athletic Conference (MVAC) with Gray Division representative, The Champion Flashes. Represented by two fantastic coaches in Kevin Longanecker (Waterloo) and Michael Cole (Champion), the game served as a perfect test for the two programs prior to the start of the tournament. 

Playing off a distracted Viking team, Champion wasted little time scoring, capitalizing on an early three-point make and taking a 10-2 lead in a flash! Bella Meyer and Addie Warzala made up all the offense in the first for Champion, including Warzala nailing down a pair of distance shots. Rose Couts found The Vikings first field goal of the game prior to the end of the first; however, through eight minutes of play, The Flashes remained in the driver’s seat 10-4. Needing an answer and desperately looking for points, The Vikings quickly learned that English translates to offense! When junior Kaira English put Waterloo on her back and had an impressive second quarter scoring the rock, converting six shots from the field while shooting 4 of 5 from the free throw line, English scored 15 points in the second quarter alone! Couts added another bucket in the quarter, enough for The Vikings to battle all the way back and take a 22-20 lead into halftime over Champion! 

Talks in the locker room went well on the defensive side of the ball in regards to halftime, as subsequently both teams went cold from the field and put up the lowest combined scoring quarter of the night. Leaving Champion with just 5 points in the third and 8 points for Waterloo, with 5 of those points being scored from Kaira English. Slightly winning the quarter, The Vikes were able to extend their lead a bit, 30-25 with the final eight minutes of play to follow. So often it is said that “basketball is a game of runs.” and that was once again the case in the final frame at Fred Brookover Gymnasium on Thursday night. With Waterloo going on a game clinching run, capped off by Portage County three-point Queen, Abby Mazur (58) hitting back-to-back triples in the fourth to push The Viking lead to double digits for the first time! Kaira English also added 9 more points of offense as she finished with 31 on the night to help Waterloo get the win 50-38!

With the loss, #19 Champion (6-17) will now look ahead to The Division3, Northeast 2 tournament bracket where they will face the winner of #2 Garrettsville Garfield (19-2) vs. #23 Campbell-Memorial (1-19). Champion is not slated to be in-action again until Saturday, February 18th for a 1:00 p.m. tip-off. The Viking victory now sets #2 Waterloo (13-6) up in The Division 4, Northeast 3 bracket, where they will host #4 Canton Central Catholic (12-9) on Wednesday, February 15th for a 7:00 p.m. tip-off! Interview with winning Head Coach, Kevin Longanecker, can be found below! 


Scoring (Waterloo)

Kaira English: 31 PTS (Player of The Game)

Rose Couts: 10 PTS.

Abby Mazur: 9 PTS. 


Scoring (Champion)

Isabella Meyer: 19 PTS.

Kayla Haynie: 11 PTS.

Addie Warzala: 6 PTS.

Dalaney Sclesinger: 2 PTS.


Scoring by Quarter

Q1: Waterloo 4 – 10 Champion

Q2: Waterloo 18 – 10 Champion

Q3: Waterloo 8 – 5 Champion

Q4: Waterloo 20 – 13 Champion

Final: Waterloo 50 – 38 Champion

*Contributed By YSN’s Ty Bartell