Thursday night saw conference competition continue in The Mahoning Valley Athletic Conference (MVAC), with two solid programs on the Scarlet Division side of the conference in The Waterloo Vikings and The Lowellville Rockets, who were set to square-off in their second and final regular-season meeting. Despite losing some key pieces a year ago, Coach Modelski and company still brought forth a competitive squad that sported a respectable 7-7 record heading into Thursday night. On the other side, Waterloo would be fresh off their first conference loss of the season to The Springfield Tigers, leaving The Vikings looking for a bounce back game.
The first quarter looked eerily similar to that of the previous four that fans in Atwater had to witness against Springfield. Following an opening three pointer by Kaylee Webb, the distance shots would not continue to fall. This allowed The Rockets to blast off to an 11-5 lead after one quarter of play. Flipping the script, quite literally, Waterloo battled back and won the second quarter by a similar score of 11-5, thus meaning the two programs were knotted up 16-16 at the halftime buzzer. The first 16 minutes of play saw defense take center stage, with girls like Savannah Procick and Lily Vari-Coppola shutting down the fastbreak opportunities for Waterloo and Frankie Lellio using incredible form with her shot to lead The Rockets in scoring and had Lowellville putting The Vikings on upset alert!
During the break, Coach Longanecker preached shooting the ball and being more aggressive in scoring opportunities. Ask and The Vikes shall deliver, grabbing the lead with an emphatic 8-0 run to start the quarter, Waterloo would grab a second half lead and never look back. Shots were starting to fall and Kaira English looks to be back at 100% and has returned to form with the level of play we saw from her last year. Other girls like Portage County Three Point Leader Abby Mazur, who helped spread the floor with her presence, paired with some more key swishes outside the arc from freshman Bayley English. Out scoring The Rockets in the second half 32-19 and 43-24 from the second quarter on, the big runs allowed Waterloo to add their tenth victory of the season by a final score of 48-35.
The win for Waterloo (10-5)(6-1) keeps them one back of conference leader Springfield, but The Vikings will have their hands full, traveling to Berlin Center on Thursday, January 19th in their second bout with The Blue Devils! Following the loss for Lowellville (7-8)(2-5) will also be traveling to Western Reserve (9-4)(4-2); however, their matchup will be featured a little later on Monday, January 23rd! Interviews with Coach Longanecker and Player of The Game Kaira English can be found below!
Kaira English: 17 PTS.
Rose Couts: 12 PTS.
Bayley English: 9 PTS.
Lilly Foster: 4 PTS.
Kaylee Webb: 3 PTS.
Abby Mazur: 3 PTS.
Frankie Lellio: 11 PTS.
Lily Vari-Coppola: 8 PTS.
Savannah Procick: 7 PTS.
Averi Schumaker: 4 PTS.
Serinna Tych: 2 PTS.
Morgan Lewis: 2 PTS.
Alyssa Kuzan: 1 PT.
Scoring by Quarter
Q1: Waterloo 5 – 11 Lowellville
Q2: Waterloo 11 – 5 Lowellville
Q3: Waterloo 18 – 7 Lowellville
Q4: Waterloo 14 – 12 Lowellville
Final: Waterloo 48 – 35 Lowellville
*Contributed By YSN’s Ty Bartell