For the second time in nine days experience and depth was a decided advantage for Waldron as they knocked off SCAA rival Camden-Frontier once more, this time to earn a spot in the Pat Paterson Holiday Classic championship game of the Al Williams pool.
After jumping out to a 21-point lead after three quarter the Spartans (5-2 overall) held on for a 55-43 win and head coach Jeff Knowlan told his girls they have plenty to be proud about, even if this game doesn’t count in the conference standings.
“I just told them it’s hard to beat them twice in one season, but when you can beat them twice in eight or nine days like we did, that’s just awesome,” he said. “The girls played really hard and we prepared during the week for this game.”
Abbe Wines had a team-high 17 points and nine rebounds and Kelsey Knowlan tallied 15 points, just the kind of senior leadership that guided them past a Redskins team that had just one scorer in double-figures.
“We’ve been through the wars, Kelsey and Abbe have been on varsity for three years, and they know what to do. Mackenzie (Price) and Randi (Roney) are starting to understand their roles and we have to do a better job of that,” Knowlan said.
Price added six rebounds, four assists and three steals and Roney had nine points, eight rebounds and two blocks.
C-F struggled with turnovers caused simply due to a lack of experience and head coach Melissa Warfield said the growing pains can be expected.
“They definitely have depth on their team and that’s nice to have,” she said. “I think the biggest thing is the intensity level. It’s hard to teach that to these younger girls who haven’t been in these game situations. I tried to get them there at the beginning of the game and it just didn’t work and at halftime I was like, ‘This is the reason why, and you have to come out more aggressive.’”
Trailing 31-15 C-F came out with a decidely more tenacious look on defense in the second half and their ‘never say die’ attitude persisted.
Despite being held scoreless in the first quarter, Morgan Warfield scored a game-high 25 points with three triples, but one good offensive output usually isn’t enough.
“It’s tough with Morgan having to handle the ball so much so I tried to get Jackie in there,” Melissa Warfield said. “But Morgan is tough inside so I try to allow her to use her inside-outside game and near the end Morgan was able to hit some 3s.”
While the Waldron seniors deserve due praise, an X-factor Monday was the play of sophomore Katie Fix.
She did a good job running the team on offense and finished with eight points, seven rebounds, five steals and two assists.
“The first couple of games we played she was kind of shell-shocked as a sophomore on varsity. But the last two games we’ve started to gel and she’s feeling comfortable around the seniors,” Jeff Knowlan said. “And that’s what I’ve told her — she doesn’t have to do everything, we’ve got four seniors out there so just let them do their thing.”
Amanda Abney had eight points and eight rebounds for C-F and Jackie Parker added seven points.
“Every day we’re getting there and I can’t get too upset at them because they are doing everything they can to get better,” Melissa Warfield said.