The Waite Indians have done plenty to narrow the gap between themselves and City League girls basketball power Rogers in the past five weeks.
Unfortunately for coach Manny May’s Indians, that gap was pretty large.
After losing 82-29 at Rogers on Dec. 10, Waite was much more competitive Wednesday night at home before falling 59-32 to the Rams (10-2, 7-0 CL), Ohio’s fourth-ranked Division II team.
Marquelle Williams, Rogers’ 6-foot-2 junior post player, led the way with 17 points and 10 rebounds to keep the Rams perfect in league play over the past two seasons.
In winning its first CL girls title last season, Rogers won all 10 league games plus two more in the City playoffs.
Reigning league player of the year Cha’Ron Sweeney, Rogers’ 5-2 point guard and only senior, added 15 points, and junior guard Sasha Dailey contributed 11 points in the win.
Waite (5-7, 4-3) was paced by senior guard Kre’Ana Henry’s 12 points and 13 rebounds, and 6-1 junior post player Latesha Craig added 10 points and nine boards.
The Indians actually led for much of the first quarter, taking an 11-6 edge on Henry’s three-point play with 2:17 left in the period.
That’s about where Waite’s good fortune came to a halt, as freshman forward Akienreh Johnson ignited a game-changing 12-0 run on a six-foot runner 17 seconds later.
“We started off real slow but the energy picked up later on,” Rams coach Lamar Smith said. “You’ve got to give Waite credit, too, because you play everybody twice [in the CL] and the second time around everybody’s going to play you a little harder.
“We made some adjustments [at halftime] and I’m proud of the outcome.”
The Rams led 13-11 entering the second quarter, and bumped their lead to 26-17 at halftime, using their trapping pressure defense to force 18 of Waite’s 31 total turnovers before the break.
With Williams scoring seven points and Sweeney six, Rogers used a 17-6 third quarter to end any hope Waite had of staying close.
“The positive tonight was our first-quarter play,” Waite coach Manny May said. “But the latter quarters we got lax, and didn’t come out with intensity. We came out in the third quarter and let them bloom a lead. But, we did do some good things.
“Rogers is Rogers. They’re going to be aggressive and they’re going to go at you. They’re going to slap you upside the head, and you’ve got to be ready.”
Rogers won big despite shooting just 34 percent (26 of 76) from the field. The Rams matched Waite’s 41 rebounds, hit five of seven free throws and had just 10 turnovers.
Waite was 13-of-43 from the field (30 percent), and hit five of its eight foul shots.
Woodward 51, Bowsher 44
Woodward outscored host Bowsher 27-22 in the second half.
K'Shauna Barnett scored 22 points to lead the Polar Bears (3-9, 2-5 CL).
Katlyn Westhoven paced the Rebles (3-9, 2-5) with 10 points.