WAVERLY — The Norris girls basketball team couldn’t have picked a better time to get over its hump than Monday night at Waverly, where the Titans toppled the Class B No. 4 Vikings 37-36. The win kept them alive in the B-5 subdistrict.
“It’s huge,” Norris coach Mark Hagerman said. “For the kids all year long, it’s been one of those things where we’re so close, yet we’re so far from getting that win. And tonight they got over the hump. That is huge, obviously beating a good Waverly team.”
For the Titans (10-11), the win avenged a 43-32 January loss to Waverly and set up a rematch with Beatrice on Tuesday. The Lady Orange handed Norris a 51-40 loss on Jan. 30.
Waverly led by as many as seven points in the first half, but Norris kept it close by hitting some outside shots. Taryn Tracy made three three-pointers in the first half and finished with nine points.
In the second half, Madelyn Ramsey took over from beyond the arc, making three three-pointers of her own for her only nine points of the game.
“We hit some shots this time down the stretch that we weren’t able to hit the first time we played them in January,” Hagerman said.
Norris locked down defensively in the third quarter, allowing only two points. Melissa Warner scored for the Vikings to make it 36-31 midway through the quarter, before the Titans took over.
Ramsey hit her third three-pointer of the half to cut the deficit to two points before Brianna Stai scored down low to tie the game.
Stai went on to hit a free throw with 1 minute, 55 seconds remaining to give her team the decisive 37-36 lead.
Waverly forced two turnovers in the final minute, but couldn’t turn them into points. Warner got a clean look at a three-pointer from the wing before time expired, but could not knock it down.
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“It was a very physical game,” Hagerman said. “One thing outside of the physical part of the game, like I told them at the end, mentally we persevered against all the circumstances that could go against us. We had the ball and gave it back to them I don’t know how many times.”
Stai, a freshman, chipped in nine points to help Norris. Sydni Schernikau scored 10 points to lead Waverly (15-8), which was sixth in the Class B wild card standings going into the game. Waverly will play in Saturday's district finals against an opponent to be determined later.
Beatrice 41, Crete 26
The Lady Orange avenged a December loss to take down the Cardinals behind a strong defensive effort, one that allowed just two points in each of the second and third quarters.
“We ran a triangle-and-two,” Beatrice coach Dennis Coudeyras said. “(Morgan) Maly and (Camry) Moore are really great scorers. We stopped them from scoring. It takes them out of their rhythm and also tires them out.”
Michaela Jones scored a game-high 23 points to lead Beatrice (13-7). Jayda Weyand finished with 10 points for Crete (12-11).