ATWATER OH- On the Tuesday following The New Years, The Mahoning Valley Athletic Conference (MVAC) had conference contests in both The Scarlet and Gray Divisions. One of those respective games would be held in Fred Brookover Gymnasium in Atwater, Ohio. Where The Waterloo Vikings played host to The Jackson-Milton Blue Jays where both teams were 2-1 in The Scarlet Division entering Tuesday night.
The Blue Jays came in looking to stop a two game skid while The Vikings had momentum, riding a four game winning streak into the conference bout. However, Jackson-Milton cared little about momentum, grabbing control from the opening tip, grabbing a lead with an 11-5 opening run against Waterloo. Aiden Stanke was lighting up the court with shots from distance in the opening frame, leading The Jays to a 16-11 lead after a quarter.
The Vikings showed poise and confidence despite the deficit, a highlight Coach Jason Wise has seen a noticeable improvement in. As Waterloo was able to battle their way back into the ball game in the following frame, using offensive rebounds to give The Vikings additional looks from the field. Flipping the script on Jackson-Milton, Waterloo outscored The Blue Jays 17-11 in the second quarter to take a 28-27 halftime lead.
Keeping the momentum they gained in the previous half, The Vikings were as hot as a blowtorch to start the third quarter. Scoring furiously on a 9-0 run, Waterloo grabbed the first double digit lead for either team in the game. Anthony Podojil was scoring off some fantastic passing from Ryan Wise, while Podojil also hit a big three pointer that secured the ten point advantage for The Vikes. But The Blue Jays would not be pushed away that easily, with both Aaron and Ryan Romigh scoring from all areas of the court, slimming their deficit to Waterloo to three before the final eight minutes of play.
Looking to put the game away, The Vikings were trying to swing the momentum back in their favor, while The Jays were trying to fly away with the game in the fourth. The Romigh’s continued to find buckets in the fourth, threatening the Waterloo lead several times. But it was the play of Navarre Alhassan, who was The Player of the Game, scoring at will in the final quarter, including two deadeye three pointers as he finished with 26 points to lead The Vikings to the 58-50 victory over Jackson-Milton!
The win for Waterloo (7-2)(3-1) will keep them within one game of Lowellville in their conference. However, their next game will take them out of conference, as The Vikings host Crestwood (4-5) on Thursday, January 5th. Following the loss for Jackson-Milton (4-6)(2-2), The Blue Jays will now turn their attention to another conference rival, The Springfield Tigers (4-5)(3-1) where they will head to New Middletown on Friday, January 6th.
Navarre Alhassan: 26 PTS. (Player of The Game)
Anthony Podojil: 13 PTS.
Ryan Wise: 9 PTS.
Jackson Eichler: 6 PTS.
Drew Flarida: 4 PTS.
Aiden Stanke: 20 PTS.
Aaron Romigh: 15 PTS.
Ryan Romigh: 13 PTS.
Zeke Brock: 2 PTS.
Scoring by Quarter
Q1: Waterloo 11 – 16 J.M.
Q2: Waterloo 17 – 11 J.M.
Q3: Waterloo 11 – 9 J.M.
Q4: Waterloo 19 – 14 J.M.
Final: Waterloo 58 – 50 J.M.
*Contributed By YSN’s Ty Bartell