The opening minutes of Monday night's Ozark Conference contest featuring Camdenton at Waynesville hinted that both teams were hungry for victory on the home team's Senior Night.
Early in the first period both squads were tied in a 6-all knot. But with more than five minutes remaining in the first, Waynesville began to take over the game.
Coach Brittany Matlock said her Waynesville team “came out focused,” and ready to battle the Lady Lakers' stifling full-court pressure.
“We knew we had to take care of the ball,” Matlock said. “[Camdenton] does a good job of chasing the ball on defense. I thought we did a really good job of passing over the top, meeting the pass and attacking them in the full-court press.”
Offensively, Waynesville turned six first quarter Camdenton turnovers into several easy fast break buckets to end the period with an 11-2 run and a 17-8 lead.
On defense, Waynesville planned to limit Camdenton's Whitney Snow and to contain other players, a strategy well-executed, especially in the second half.
“We know Snow is a great player and I thought we did a good job on her and then contained everybody else,” Matlock said. “I was really proud of our effort.”
The rest of the game was no cake walk, but Waynesville certainly maintained the upper hand.
At halftime Waynesville built an even larger lead, 32-18, and reached its highest lead of the night at the sound of the buzzer.
Battling back, Camdenton netted its highest single quarter total of the night with 12, but was outlasted by Waynesville's 18 points.
Waynesville won, 64-39.
With the hammer down, the Lady Tigers picked up another late-season win and improved to .500 for the third time this season (10-10, 4-1). Despite a strong overall record, Camdenton fell to 2-4 in Ozark Conference play.
“We got off to a rough start, but I think all teams are searching for an identity,” Matlock said. “Hopefully we can keep building and peak at the right time.”
Three Waynesville seniors were recognized before the contest: Dorothy Adams, Hannah Finger and Leslie Larson. All received gifts from teammates before making an announcement of their own. Adams and her senior teammates presented each Waynesville coach with a memorable homemade personal t-shirt. The coaches gave in and coached the entire game clad in the thrifty duds.
In upcoming contests, Waynesville will take on rival West Plains, the squad the Lady Tigers downed in last season's district championship contest, on Thursday at 6 p.m. Camdenton moves on to play Rolla at 6 p.m. Thursday.
Scoring summary: Waynesville – Kallie Bildner, fr., 21 points; Hannah Bland, jr., 14, 4 steals; Chelsey Howser, soph., 9; Adams, sr., 7, 4 assists; Finger, 6, 7 rebounds; Jordan Laughlin, jr., 4; Kellsie Herrmann, soph., 2; Adria Randle, soph., 2.
Page 2 of 2 - Camdenton – Sophie Shore, fr., 14 points; Bailey Rezabek, fr., 10; Snow, jr., 8; Alison Carter, soph., 4; Alyssa Ripley, fr., 2.
A 9-0 run to open the second quarter gave Camdenton a huge halftime lead, 25-17. As the game seemed to get out of hand, Waynesville battled back to take the lead twice at 39-38 and 43-42 late in the fourth quarter. After failing to capitalize on several late-game free throw attempts, Camdenton eventually tied, then took the lead with :05.5 remaining. The Lady lakers went on to win by the same count, 44-43.