By Colin Harris | Staff writer
It was only a matter of time until it happened.
After a strong first-half performance, Waterloo wilted under the pressure of Ravenna's physical gifts as the visiting Ravens picked up a 56-35 PTC cross-division victory Saturday night in Atwater.
"We knew that it would probably only be a matter of time until Ravenna's size and athleticism caught up to us," Waterloo head coach Dave Hamilton said. "We kind of thought in the second half that Ravenna would come out (and pressure). If we were going to win, we'd have to really compete all four quarters."
Waterloo had the lead on Ravenna (15-6 overall) midway through the second quarter as the tandem of senior guard Jamie Willis and senior forward Megan Forney combined for eight of the Vikings' 10 second-quarter points.
The senior duo combined for 20 of Waterloo's 35 points, with Willis leading the way with 19.
Forney finished with 11, but also pulled down 13 rebounds.
Momentum started to shift against the Vikings (11-10) near the end of the first half as Ravenna sophomore guard Deja Sanders came to life.
Scoreless up to that point, Sanders scored 10 points in the final 3:20 of the half -- including back-to-back 3-pointers -- as the Ravens closed out a 12-0 run that turned a 21-15 deficit into a 27-21 halftime lead for Ravenna.
Sanders ended the night with a team-high 16 points to lead Ravenna offensively.
That late momentum carried over into the second half for Ravenna. A 20-7 third quarter by Ravenna put things out of reach for the host Vikings, as the Ravens were able to work with a near-20-point lead for much of the half.
Ravenna head coach Sonny Tilden brought out three forwards for much of the third. Freshmen Taylor Geib (6-foot-1) and Nicole Simpson (6-2) joined senior Fallon Schwab-Davis (6-1) to provide the Ravens with a significant height advantage in the paint.
Tilden said that the formation switch was just part of what triggered the big quarter.
"We had our three bigs in there and it was a lot for Waterloo to handle," Tilden said. "We stepped up our defense as well and (senior guard) Moe Moe Smith was making good passes -- it was just a good second half."
Geib led the way in the third period with six of her 12 points. The freshman standout also pulled down 12 rebounds to lead Ravenna on the boards.
"Taylor has been playing really well this season," Tilden said. "The way she's been playing, you sometimes forget that she's even a freshman."
Smith added seven points for the Ravens in a winning effort.