The Waverly Bulldogs girls basketball team brought the heat early against the Rural Vista Heat, outscoring them 20-4 in the first quarter on the way to a 62-46 win in the 1A State Basketball Tournament Wednesday night.
The win advances the Bulldogs to the semi-final game scheduled for 3 p.m. Friday.
It also sends previously undefeated Rural Vista home for the season, their final Record 24-1.
Waverly sophomore Sara McWilliams had a game-high 15 points for the Bulldogs. Juniors Megan Foster and Lanie Patterson were also in double figures, Foster recording 14 points and Patterson 12 for the Bulldogs.
Waverly head coach Ty Piper said Patterson was a player who had more of an impact on the game than the statistics might give credit for, though at the time he hadn’t had a chance to see what her final stats in Wednesday’s game were.
“Her defense on their post girl who’s a very good player, she had to have 10 plus rebounds and she played every minute,” Piper said. “I was just really really happy with how she played and she really stepped up for us in scoring but also just in her defensive rebounding was awesome.”
Patterson wound up with a double-double, pulling in a game-high 11 rebounds to go with her dozen points.
The Heat scored the first 3 points of the game and led 4-2 at one point, but after that, it was all Bulldogs. Trailing 3-0 in the first quarter, the Bulldogs went on a 20-1 run to end the quarter.
It was that quarter which proved decisive, and a large part of it was the way the team shot the ball.
“We knew it would pry be a tightly-contested game,” Piper said. “Rural Vista’s a really good team, but we have the capabilities of shooting the ball really well, and we especially did that in the first quarter.”
Piper said he was also really proud of how his team defended, which included holding the Heat to a total 35.8 percent on 19-53 shooting from the field.
“Rural Vista is one of the best offenses we played against all year, and the way our girls defended, I was just thrilled with that,” Piper said.
Through the first half, Waverly outrebounded Rural Vista 18-9.
“That was a big point of emphasis for us this week because they rebound really really well, and we’re undersized for the most part,” Piper said. “Our girls, and especially Lanie Patterson inside, just worked their tails off to get in position and keep that position and that was awesome. I was actually surprised in the difference in rebounding at halftime. That was a key for us, big key for us.”
Outside of that quarter, the Heat hung in there, outscoring the Bulldogs 7-5 in the second quarter, and only getting outscored 17-15 in the third before the teams each scored 20 in the fourth.
“At the end of the day, I thought our defense won that game for us,” Piper said.
For Rural Vista, senior Lauren Campuzano had a team-high 14 points, tying Foster of Waverly for a game-high four assists. Vista senior Jordyn Sanford had 8 points and four rebounds.
“They pressured us and caused us into doing some stuff that we don’t normally do,” Rural Vista head coach Kane Hensley said. “It just comes down to hitting shots. We didn’t hit any.”
Waverly will face Hanover, who beat No. 3 seed and also previously-unbeaten Olpe 45-40 Wednesday night.