The Lady Tigers missed just one of 13 free throws in the second half as they pulled away for a blowout victory
Continuing an impressive stretch of basketball, the Waynesville Lady Tigers (9-3) picked up their fourth-straight victory on Tuesday at home with a 54-31 thumping of the Union Lady Wildcats (4-10).
In the last Missouri Basketball Coaches Association (MBCA) poll on Jan. 12, the Waynesville girls landed the 10th slot.
Admittedly, Waynesville coach Brittany Matlock said she doesn't stay up-to-date on any of the high school girls rankings.
“I feel bad that I really don't pay attention to that,” she said. “It's very flattering and all, you know, but we definitely know from experience on any given night anything can happen.”
Like five days prior when the Lady Tigers upset No. 2 ranked Hickman 57-54.
Waynesville burst out of the gates Tuesday and built an 11-3 lead, five of the points coming from Kiara Shoulders who had a total of 14 points on the night.
However, that lead vanished as Union scored eight unanswered points – including back-to-back three-pointers in the final 30 seconds – to end the quarter and tie the game at 11.
“We knew that Union is going to shoot the three,” Matlock said. “Occasionally they fall and occasionally they don't. We had some missteps on defense and Union was able to make us pay that way.”
ReShawna Stone got the second quarter started on a good note for the Lady Tigers with a layup and a three from the right wing to push Waynesville's lead to 16-11. She had seven of her game-leading 16 points in the quarter.
But by the time the halftime buzzer sounded the Lady Tigers had just a 22-21 advantage.
One of the biggest issues Matlock brought to the attention of the team was their free throw shooting which was 3-10 to that point.
“I guess you could say we had a meeting of the minds,” Matlock said. “The tale of halves. But, obviously, as a coach you want to be more consistent. Or, at least I preach that.”
Her congregation took the halftime message to heart and missed just one of 13 second-half free throws.
The defense also ramped up and allowed just three points in the third quarter as Stone made six of the 12 Waynesville points in the frame.
“She's definitely capable of that,” Matlock said. “I think, as with a lot of players, they just have to realize they can do it. And as she gains confidence, hopefully, she'll realize the success she has because she's quick enough to get that position and finish strong to the basket.”
In the fourth, the Lady Tigers' defense again held the Wildcats to single digits – seven this go around – as they finished out with 20 points.
Along with Shoulders and Stone, Kizzee also had double-digits for Waynesville. She had 15 points while Ashton Pilz chipped in seven and Victoria Perry two.
Up next for the Lady Tigers is a road trip to Lebanon on Thursday to take on the Lady Yellowjackets (9-4) who knocked off No. 1 ranked Jefferson City on Monday 45-35 despite being unranked in the MBCA poll themselves.