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WAVERLY — The No. 4 Seward girls basketball team learned a valuable lesson Saturday afternoon at Waverly.

If you’re going to turn the ball over 29 times, you have to play lock-down defense.

And that’s just what they did.

Seward overcame its turnovers and a fierce fourth-quarter comeback from the No. 2 Vikings to earn the road win, 38-33, for their third straight victory. A victory that might be the start of a special second half of the season for the Bluejays.

“To beat Waverly at Waverly means you can beat anyone anywhere,” Seward coach Tom Tvrdy said. “That gives us confidence, but as the Class B field has shown, every game will be a completely different picture from what you’ve seen. Our hope is just to stay as consistent as we can and we did that today.”

Before the Waverly offense started getting into a rhythm in the fourth quarter, the Seward defense held the Vikings to single-digit scoring in each of the first three quarters, including a three-point third quarter from the Vikings, to build a double-digit lead in the second half.

Waverly matched its first-half scoring, 15 points, in the fourth quarter, however, behind balanced scoring and free-throw shooting. But it wasn’t enough to erase an 11-point deficit.

The Vikings cut it to five late in the quarter, but that’s as close as they’d get.

“Our girls had a little angst to them; they knew they needed to do something in that fourth quarter so they got scrappy,” Waverly coach John Cockerill said. “Seward got big in their 2-3 for most of the game, though. They sit and drop down on you with big, strong girls. We struggled to get good shots against them.”

Rylee Opfer led all scorers with 10 points, while teammates Kate Mullally and Bailee Baack both finished with eight points in the win.

Sydni Schernikua had a team-high nine points for the Vikings.

Waverly boys 49, Seward 37

The Vikings took an early two-point lead after the first quarter and continued to build on it throughout the rest of the game to snap a two-game skid to start the new year.

Seward hung around throughout the second half but the Waverly defense amped up in the fourth quarter. Jacob Hruska grabbed seven of his 13 rebounds in the fourth while Ben Carter scored seven of his team-high 12 points in the quarter to secure the win for the Vikings.

Nate Literas led Seward with 12 points and 10 rebounds for the game’s only double-double.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7431 or scarlson@journalstar.com.

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