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Waterford Wildcats Team Huddle

Waterford Wildcats reek redemption against Newark Catholic Green Wave

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It was a rematch of monumental proportions as the sixth-ranked Waterford Wildcats faced off against the third-ranked Newark Catholic Green Wave. While the Wildcats fell short in an overtime nail-biter at Newark Catholic, this time Waterford claimed revenge, ending the Green Wave’s undefeated season with a 53-42 victory in the regional semifinal. The Wildcats will now face the Berlin Hiland Hawks for the region on Saturday. 


In the first quarter, it was a sloppy affair between both teams. Turnovers created opportunities that Newark Catholic exploited for an early lead. From the tip, it was clear Kendall Sury’s magical tournament run was continuing against the Green Wave. Coming off consecutive performances of more than 20 points, Sury erupted for eight points in the first quarter. Her efforts resulted in eight of Waterford’s 10 first quarter points, but Newark Catholic led 11-10 after one.  


Sophie Peloquin and the Green Wave hit their stride entering the second quarter. Behind steals and suffocating defense, the Green Wave extended their lead from the first quarter. Midway through the second quarter, Sury picked up her third foul, putting the Wildcats’ leading scorer in jeopardy early in the contest. Waterford managed to stabilize the contest, limiting Newark Catholic from beyond the arc. While the Green Wave terrorized the Wildcats from three in their first matchup, Newark Catholic finished just 25% from beyond the arc. Despite their long-range struggles, the Green Wave led 24-18 at the half.  


Out of the locker room, a switch had flipped for Waterford. Behind scoring explosion courtesy of Sury and Avery Smithberger. Sury added another 13 second-half points and Smithbergre totaled 10 of her 12 in the half. Smithberger was perfect from the charity stripe and added six rebounds in the contest. While Newark Catholic went cold, the Wildcats surged. A 14-0 run transformed into an 18-3 third quarter which ended with a 36-26 lead after three.  


While the Green Wave shook out of their slump, Waterford proved too dominant to be caught. When Newark Catholic brought the game within six, a three-pointer from Elsie Malec dampened their comeback hopes. Malec finished with seven points, seven rebounds, and four assists in the regional semi final. The Wildcats deep rotation worked to their strength as the Green Wave’s consistent press and six-player rotation struggled to stay fresh against Waterford’s 10-player rotation. Underclassmen Malec and Lakyn Heiss played crucial minutes to lock down the victory. The Wildcats claimed the victory 53-42.  


Waterford dominated on the glass against Newark Catholic, out rebounding the Green Wave 42-18. A major part of that success was Avery Wagner who finished the night out rebounding Newark Catholic alone with 19 boards. The Green Wave’s undefeated season came to an end at 24 wins, but with a youth-infused roster, they are set to contend for years to come. For Waterford, the tournament continues to roll along.