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Late run propels Waterloo to a 61-52 win over McDonald

ATWATER, OH- Fred Brookover Gymnasium was the scene on Tuesday night as the Waterloo Vikings (6-3) welcomed in the McDonald Blue Devils (5-5) for a NAC matchup. The Vikings were looking for their fourth straight win while McDonald was looking to bounce back from a tough loss to Western Reserve last Friday.

It was a back and forth opening quarter. The Vikings Gage Hawley scored 6 of their first 10 points as they held a 10-6 lead midway through the opening quarter. McDonald's Casey Miller then banked in a three point shot that sparked an 8-2 run capped off by a Wyatt Wolford basket. The Wolford shot was the first non three point shot of the game for the Blue Devils as their first four shots were from deep. Hawley came right back with a three of his own putting the Vikings back up 15-14. Hawley would score the final 11 points of the quarter for Waterloo. They led 19-17 after one.

McDonald's Chris Raggazine squares up for a three point shot in the 2nd quarter

The second quarter was more back and forth from both teams. Hawley opened the scoring for the Vikings with his third three ball of the half putting them up 22-17 to start quarter two. The Blue Devils would counter with five straight to tie it up at 22. Waterloo would push the lead back out to five before an and one by McDonald's Wyatt Wolford pulled them back within two late in the half. The Vikings would take a 32-29 lead into halftime.

It was a big first half for Vikings junior Gage Hawley who scored 20 points and hit three shots from deep. He spoke with me about his big first half.

"Hit open shots. I've been struggling at that this year," said Hawley. "Today I did it really well and hopefully next game against Springfield, which is a big one, I will do the same thing."

After a fairly high scoring first half, the third quarter was anything but that. Waterloo would score the first five points and led 37-29 after a Jackson Eichler three ball.

Waterloo's Jackson Eichler squares up for a three point shot in the third quarter

McDonald answered with an 8-0 run with the last five points coming from Wolford to tie the game at 37 with 3:35 to play in the third quarter. The last points of the quarter came from Waterloo big man Drew Flarida to give the Vikings a 39-37 lead after three.

Waterloo's Kaii Warren takes a three point shot during the fourth quarter

McDonald came out aggressive to start the fourth on a 7-3 run to take a 44-42 lead. A Kyle Warbeck three put the Vikings back on top 45-44. Drew Zajack split a pair of free throws for the Blue Devils knotting the score at 45-45. After that point the tides turned in favor of the Vikings as they went on a 12-2 run to take their biggest lead of the game at 57-47 with 2:35 to play. Waterloo was able to successfully run clock as the Blue Devils let a decent amount of time pass before deciding to foul much to the dismay of head coach James Franceschelli.

Waterloo finished it off at the free throw line and closed it out for a 61-52 win.

Gage Hawley led the offensive attack for the Vikings with 24 points and 8 rebounds. Wyatt Wolford was solid in defeat for the Blue Devils with 15 points and 6 rebounds.

I talked with Waterloo coach Jason Wise about the game plan coming in against a good shooting McDonald team.

"We knew we had to try and take away the three point line and we didn't do a very good job of that...I'm not sure how many they hit for the game but it felt like almost every basket they hit was from the three point line," said Wise. "I thought we were able to do a little better job in the second half and we were able to stretch the lead there in the fourth quarter and get out of here with a win."

The Vikings are back in action at Springfield on Friday.

Unofficial stats:


Gage Hawley: 24 points, 8 rebounds

Jackson Eichler: 12 points

Kaii Warren: 11 points, 8 rebounds


Wyatt Wolford: 15 points, 6 rebounds

Joey Cappuzzello: 11 points

Drew Jajack: 9 points


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