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Waterford Headed To State Championship

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For the second time in school history, the Waterford Lady Wildcats (27-1) are heading to the girls Division IV state title game after defeating Cornerstone Christian (23-5) 52-42 after a hard fought four quarters.

The Lady Wildcats did not lead until halfway through the second quarter, but this was a lead they would never relinquish. Waterford caught on going on a 7-0 run to take a demanding 21-15 lead into halftime. Mariah Starkey capped off the run with a lay-up after she stole CCA’s inbound pass with just 10 seconds to play. This would give Waterford all the momentum, momentum they carried into the third quarter.

Waterford came out of the locker rooms hot and scored a quick four points to start the second half. The Lady Wildcats would expand their lead to 10 points halfway through the third and looked to be running away with the game.

Ashley West put a stop to that for CCA, cutting Waterford’s lead to five heading into the final quarter. West played lights out scoring a game high 18 points with eight rebounds and three steals. West and the rest of the team played suffocating defense all game as the patriots forced 21 turnovers, and would not let a Wildcat breath without being right in their face.

Waterford never let CCA get closer than that five points at the start of the fourth quarter outscoring the Patriots 21-15 in the final eight minutes. The “foul game” started with about two minutes to play in this game and once that started Cornerstone never had a chance as Waterford was an astounding 23-24 from the line.

Cornerstone Christian Academy had plenty of chances to take this win. They out rebounded Waterford 33-25, leading to multiple second chances. However they were not able to convert, only shooting 27 percent from the field.

The Lady Wildcats never lost their composure. After struggling in the first half, only managing 21 points on 6-18 shooting and five turnovers in the first five minutes, they never doubted themselves. Though no one player lite up the court for Waterford, they played team ball for all four quarters. Three players scored in the double digits for Waterford with Ali Kern, Dani Drayer and Megan Ball scoring 12, 10, and 11 points respectively.

Two big differences in this game were fast breaks and the bench. Waterford’s bench outscored CCA’s 12-0 while the Lady Wildcats cashed in on 10 fast break points compared to a resounding 0 for the Lady Patriots.

The Waterford Lady Wildcats look to redeem last year’s loss in the state finals tomorrow at 5:15 p.m. in the Schottenstein Center in Columbus. They will play the winner of the Saint Wendelin Mohawks and the Jackson Center Tigers. If that game is anything like this semifinal, it will be a great one.