By Colin Harris | Staff Writer
In a battle to stay alive in the PTC County Division, Waterloo found a spark in the second half to defeat the Windham Bombers, 55-46.
Down 27-18 at the half, Waterloo (7-5, 6-3 County) outscored the host Bombers 37-19 over the final two quarters to pull away and keep its slim title hopes alive.
Southeast (10-4, 8-1) remains atop the County Division and holds a two-game lead over Waterloo and Windham after defeating Woodridge, 53-49 on Wednesday evening.
"It was definitely a big second half effort for us," Waterloo head coach Dave Hamilton said. "It was a team effort (to get back into the game) because we got good performances from a number of players."
Waterloo pulled to within three points at the start of the fourth quarter when forward Blair Weaver scored near the bucket to make it a 38-35 Bombers lead.
Windham (8-7, 5-3) more or less retained a two-point lead until the 4:40 mark of the fourth quarter when senior guard Jamie Willis knocked down a 3-pointer to give Waterloo a 41-40 lead -- its first lead since a 16-14 edge early in the second quarter.
Senior guard Laurin Wareham pushed Waterloo's lead out over the next minute with buckets on consecutive trips down the court -- including one of her two 3-pointers on the night -- to put the Vikings up five points with under three minutes to play.
Foul shooting has been an Achilles heel of the VIkings throughout the season, and Waterloo finished Thursday night's game with a sub-par 12-of-22 overall performance.
But Vikings' shooters stepped up with the game on the line, going 9-of-11 in the fourth quarter -- including an 8-of-10 stretch in the final 1:35 of regulation -- to secure a victory.
"We got in trouble because we got to the point where we had to foul Waterloo and they knocked down most of their shots," Windham head coach Gregg Isler said. "But we just got in trouble during the second half, getting out-rebounded and turning the ball over too much."
Waterloo actually turned the ball over more than Windham on the night with a 22-20 edge, but Bombers ball-handlers surrendered the ball 12 times in the second half as Waterloo began to chip away at its deficit.
The Vikings were carried by their senior captains during the second half as Wareham, Willis and forward Megan Forney combined for 23 points.
Willis finished with a team-high 15 points to go along with six rebounds and five assists. Forney finished with a double-double, scoring 13 points along with 13 rebounds.
"Jamie played well and was right at about her average with assists tonight," Hamilton said. "Megan and Laurin also played well and Laurin knocked down a couple of really big shots for us (in the fourth quarter) when we needed it."
Windham was led by the tandem of sophomores Dari Heller (15 points), Jessica Isler (10) and Brittany Knight (10). Heller recorded a double-double, pulling down 14 rebounds.
Only three other players scored for Windham in the loss, led by six points from Samantha Dean.