Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
CHILLICOTHE — All year long, Waverly has played at one speed: fast.
The Tigers have shown time and time again that they love to get in transition and turn defense into offense.
That was the exact same formula they used on Tuesday to hand Gallia Academy a 59-49 loss in a Division II sectional semifinal at Southeastern.
If it isn’t broken, why fix it now?
“When we push the ball and when we get out [in transition], we’re hard to stop,” Brown said. “That’s what we did tonight and that gave us some momentum. We had big plays and we were hustling. But we need to do a better job finishing the game and closing out better..”
Brown had a pair of big plays himself, dunking twice in the first half and bringing his teammates and Waverly’s fans to their feet.
Both slams acted as shots in the arm for Waverly’s offense, which slowly but surely came alive.
While Brown provided the theatrics, Will Futhey did the dirty work. The sophomore turned in a quiet 13-point performance while working hard on the glass.
Together, alongside Trey Roberston’s team-high 16 points, they fueled the fire in a Tigers’ win.
“[Brown] and [Futhey] are both dawgs,” senior Michael Goodman said. “When we get big rebounding games from these two, it’s always a dub.”
Brown’s first two-handed rim-rocker came late in the first quarter, giving the Tigers (18-5) a 10-6 lead before they took a 14-13 edge into the second. By halftime, their advantage stood at 27-23.
Futhey made it a double-digit lead at 33-23 with 6:15 left in the third before Robertson capped an 8-0 run with two free throws, making it 35-23. By the start of the fourth, the Tigers owned a 45-35 lead.
However, the Blue Devils (8-13) started the fourth on a 5-0 run, cutting the lead to 45-40 with 6:03 left. That’s when Waverly coach Travis Roberston called a timeout to regroup.
Directly after, the Tigers punched back, going up 49-40 before eventually hitting their free throws to put the game on ice … they were 19-of-27 from the charity stripe.
Robertson led Waverly with a team-high 16 points, the majority of which came from the free throw line. Brown had 13 points and a team-high eight rebounds, Futhey also ended the night with 13 points alongside six rebounds, and Tanner Smallwood finished with eight points and six boards.
“When Trey isn’t having his usual night, which is about 30 points, it opens up the offense for us bigs. He had 16 tonight, which isn’t bad at all, either,” Futhey said. “Trey always does a great job of finding us in transition and getting the ball out.”
The Tigers advance to play in a Division II sectional championship, battling Unioto at 7 p.m, Saturday at Southeastern with a trip to the Convo on the line.
“We have to play our best game and we have to be firing on all cylinders, more than we were tonight,” Brown said. “[Unioto] has a couple of big, key factors we have to slow down and contain. We have to play fast and get it out and get some easy ones in transition.”
Gallia Academy: 13-10-12-14 — 49
Waverly: 14-13-18-14 — 59
Gallia Academy: 18-36 FG, 8-12 FT, 5-14 3 pt., 14 rebounds (Davis 4, Cremeens 4), 7 turnovers, 5 assists (Davis 2). Scoring: Blouir 18, Davis 11, Thomas 8, Clary 7, Cox 4, Wilcoxon 1.
Waverly: 19-42 FG, 19-27 FT, 0-4 3 pt., 28 rebounds (Brown 8), 7 turnovers, 8 assists (Goodman 3). Scoring: Robertson 16, Brown 13, Futhey 13, Smallwood 8, Stulley 6, Goodman 2.