The Waynesboro Middle School Wildcats were the first team to see action in the semi-final round of the James C. Haile State Tournament. The ‘Cats faced the Eagles of Carroll-Oakland on Monday, January 25th. Waynesboro started a little sluggish despite easily breaking the Carroll-Oakland full court press. In the first three minutes, the Eagles tried to pull away with a 3-to-8-point run. The ‘Cats came alive, playing aggressive offense and ended the quarter in the lead 11-8.
In the 2nd, the ‘Cats pulled an 11-point lead over the Eagles, outscoring them 10-2 to include a Justice Bell half court buzzer beater. The halftime score was 21-10, ‘Cats.
The 3rd quarter allowed for Waynesboro to pull away on the scoreboard. In two quarters, the ‘Cats outscored Carroll-Oakland 21-4 bringing the score to 32-12, ‘Cats, at the beginning of the 4th. The ‘Cats added 12 more points in the final quarter, half of which came from the foul line in the Eagles desperate attempt to take the lead. The Eagles had their best quarter offensively in the fourth adding 17 points to their scorebook but found themselves too late to rally. The game expired with the Waynesboro Wildcat victory score of 44-29, sending the ‘Cats on to the championship game on Saturday, January 30th.
Justice Bell led the ‘Cats in scoring with 16 points to include two 3-point baskets. He shot 80% from the foul line, had 4 rebounds, 2 steals, 3 assists, and 1 blocked shot. Sayler Skelton had 14 points, 9 rebounds, 2 steals, and 1 assist. Baker Bryant shot for 9 points to include 3 “and one’s,” had 3 rebounds, and 2 assists. Drew Bevis had 4 points from the free throw line, 8 boards, and 5 assists. Cayson Castleman had a free throw point, a steal, and 2 rebounds. Logan Davis added 2 rebounds.
Waynesboro Lady Cats semi-final action was on Tuesday, January 26th. The Lady Cats faced the Lady Saints of Southside. The Lady Cats had a slow start, finding themselves trailing most of the 1st quarter. The Lady Cats kicked it in high gear offensively and brought the score to 9-9 by the end of the quarter.
The 2nd quarter proved to be a defensive battle with both teams struggling with turnovers and only adding 5 points each to the score. The score going into halftime was 14-14.
Finally, in the 3rd, the Lady Cats were able to get a little bit of breathing room from the Lady Saints by the end of the quarter. Back-to-back 3-point buckets helped to stretch the lead for Waynesboro. The quarter ended with the Lady Cats up 26-16. The Lady Cats held their lead against Southside outscoring them 11-4 in the 4th quarter. The final score was 37-22, giving the Lady Cats a ticket to the championship game to face Watertown on Saturday, January 30th.
Blair Baugus led the Lady Cats with 17 points, 15 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals, and 3 blocked shots. Emma Bryant had 10 points including one 3-point basket and shooting 100% from the free throw line. Emma had 3 rebounds, 5 steals, and 2 assists. Raegan Crews had 2 points, 1 assist, and 4 steals. Rosalee Martin had 5 points including one 3-point basket, 1 rebound, and 4 steals. Ava Ashley had 3 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 steals.
The Lions of Frank Hughes faced the Celina Bulldogs in their semi-final game. The winner of this contest would decide who would get to advance to the championship game. In the 1st quarter, despite easily breaking the Bulldogs’ full court press, the Lions found themselves struggling with turnovers and missed baskets. Celina using the run and gun game, took the quick lead from the Lions and only allowed them 2 points in the first. The quarter ended with a score of 17-2. Frank Hughes continued to struggle against the Bulldogs in the second and were trailing 32-7 going into half time.
In the 3rd quarter, the Lions managed to outscore the Bulldogs 13-11, bringing the score to 43-20, Celina. Frank Hughes was not able to get things going offensively and the game ended with a score of 60-23.
Cooper Shamer had 11 points. Alex Burleson had 4 points. Weston Lineberry contributed 4 points. Aiden Dicus had 3 points and Hayden Horner had a point from the free throw line. The Lions had a great regular season, but fell to the tough Celina team that would face Waynesboro for the championship game.—Submitted