"One thing about this team is it really doesn't know how to win yet. That's one of the problems we've had," said Garrison. "(In) a close game, it is almost like, what's going to happen now? What are we going to do? How are they (the opponent) going to beat us now? I don't think we really know how to win."
Monday night at home against Ravenna, the Vikings took a huge step towards correcting that problem as they rallied from five points down in the final two minutes of the game to come away with a 46-45 non-league nailbiter over the Ravens.
Sarah Schultz's 17-foot baseline jumper from the right corner with 12 seconds remaining gave Waterloo the one-point victory. Schultz took an inbounds pass from Sarah Wise and found herself wide open as she calmly sank the winning shot.
Then as Ravenna brought the ball up the court, the Ravens committed a traveling violation giving the ball back to Waterloo with eight seconds left.
At that point, all the Ravens could do was foul. But unfortunately, Ravenna was still three fouls under the limit, so all Waterloo had to do was make sure it inbounded the ball safely. It did and the clock ran out.
"This was an important win for us just for that, if nothing else," said Garrison, alluding to his team's fourth-quarter struggles.
The Ravens (3-5) had a pair of five-point leads in the final four minutes but could not hold on.
An Amy Stefansic basket along the baseline with just over two minutes to go gave Ravenna a 45-40 advantage.
Melinda Hamilton countered with a long jumper at the 1:50 mark pulling the Vikings within 45-42.
The Waterloo defense then tightened up and forced a Raven turnover with one minute showing. Eighteen seconds later, Wise swished a jumper narrowing the Viking deficit to 45-44.
Ravenna then worked the ball down low to Veronica Byerly attempting to stretch their lead. However, Byerly's short jumper in the lane didn't find the hole and Waterloo (3-5) grabbed onto the rebound with 20 seconds left.
Following a timeout, Waterloo inbounded the ball to Liz Royer who was fouled on the floor. With Waterloo not in the bonus situation, the Vikings again inbounded the ball, this time from the left side of the basket. Moments later, Wise hit Schultz with the pass and Schultz took care of the rest.
"It's basically just a pass to go to the weak side _ away from the ball side _ making some cuts, hoping the defense all goes toward the ball side, then finding someone open behind," commented Garrison.
Ravenna head coach John Davison could only sit and shake his head after his team blew a chance to reach the .500 mark.
"They made the plays down the end and we didn't execute down the stretch," said Davison. "They were real patient in their offense."
On the inbounds play, Davison said, "They pinned us in. We (the coaching staff) told the kids what they (the Vikings) were going to do. They executed and we didn't."
It's not very often that a team will win a game without having at least one player score in double figures. That was the case, though, for the Vikings. Eight players scored, but no one had more than Royer, who tallied nine points. Hamilton and Wise contributed eight each, and Diana Rose chipped in six more.
Stefansic and Erin Warner led the way for the Ravens with 16 and 15 points, respectively.
Ravenna jumped out to a 14-9 lead after the first eight minutes and then scored the first two points of the second stanza increasing its lead to seven points _ the biggest of the game.
Waterloo rallied and scored 11 of the next 12 points to take a 20-17 lead after a Schultz three-point play. A pair of Warner free throws just before the half, however, sent the teams to the intermission tied at 21.
A 7-0 Waterloo run midway through the third quarter erased a Ravenna three-point lead and gave the Vikings a 30-26 advantage that grew to six points before a Warner jumper just prior to the third-quarter buzzer made the count 35-31 after three.
Waterloo dominated the boards, 20-9, and Garrison thought that was pivotal to his team's success.
"We have not done a real good job rebounding. Tonight was the best rebounding job we've done all year," said the coach.