Glendale came into Monday's games as the reigning Ozark Conference champions, but for the first time in recent history, Waynesville posted wins in the three game series at home.
Glendale came into Monday's games as the reigning Ozark Conference champions, but for the first time in recent history, Waynesville posted wins in the three-game series at home.
It was slow going for Waynesville freshmen early in Monday's first contest. Glendale opened with an 11-1 run before the home team caught fire. Waynesville finished the first quarter on a 15-4 run to take a brief one-point lead. The teams traded punches in the second quarter until Waynesville pushed its lead to four, 24-20 at halftime.
In the second half Glendale came out firing, but neither team could muster enough momentum to pull away. Glendale hung tough and hit a third quarter buzzer-beater at the free throw line to take a 41-38 lead into the final quarter.
The last period of the game was dominated by both defenses until freshman guard Ramell Johnson took over and scored eight-straight points to take a 50-49 lead with less than a minute to play. Waynesville closed with three free throws to win the game 53-49.
Johnson had a team-high 15 points.
Glendale was outscored in each quarter but the fourth in the night's second game.
Waynesville opened with a 24-8 first quarter lead, largely in part to junior Christian Vanderson's efforts. The 6-foot-3-inch forward dominated in the paint, scoring and rebounding on most Waynesville possessions.
Vanderson's emphatic dunk ignited a crowd and the Waynesville team, which already held a large 41-23 lead at halftime.
The home defense allowed 15 points in the second quarter, but Glendale failed to post 10 points in any other quarter.
As the final seconds ticked off the clock, Waynesville won 59-38.
Vanderson finished with 18 points, all in the first half.
Teammate Rashad Swanson, the sophomore point guard, nailed three three-pointers and finished with 11 points.
Neither team could find rhythm in the opening quarter of Monday night's main event.
After Waynesville won the opening tip and committed a turnover, Glendale nailed a three-pointer to take the first lead. Trading baskets for the rest of the way, Glendale took a 13-12 lead into the second quarter.
The second quarter began with an 8-2 Waynesville run, which the opponent could not overcome before halftime. Glendale trailed 31-23 at the midway mark.
Waynesville's 6-foot-6-inch sophomore forward Juwan Morgan posted 11 points and seven rebounds in the first half, showing drastic improvement from his freshmen campaign.
Waynesville coach Chris Pilz said Morgan was "hungry" on Monday.
"I thought Morgan played awfully good," Pilz said. "A year ago, we couldn't get him to practice with the [junior varsity] team; he was a little intimidated by that."
This season, Morgan started strong in the first half of the first game, but his success carried into the second half.
Creating turnovers, the Waynesville defense, powered by three Morgan steals, created six second half Glendale turnovers to lead a 15-5 surge to open the third quarter. By the end of the period, Glendale closed the gap, but faced an 11-point deficit going into the fourth behind, 51-40.
Morgan and the 6-foot-5-inch junior, Javante Armstrong, dominated off the boards for Waynesville, out-rebounding Glendale 28-21.
Pilz's squad maintained its lead while utilizing 12 different players to close out the game 73-62.
"The first game of the year you never know what's going to happen," Pilz said after the game. "I think our guys were ready to play after two days of practice."
And it showed. Morgan recorded his first career double-double, finishing with 22 points and 11 rebounds. His teammates, senior point guards Donald Hargrow (18) and Ethan Howser (14) each finished with double-digit points. Armstrong finished with 11 rebounds.
Although Waynesville knocked off the defending conference champs, Pilz said there are still plenty of improvements to be made.
"We've got to get better off the ball [screens]," he said. "Sometimes our guys get focused on their guy and lose sight of the ball."
Pilz also highlighted the team's need to better its defensive rotation and communication.
After Thanksgiving Break, the squad will return to action on Nov. 27 at St. Clair. The games begin at approximately 6 p.m.