The Washington Blue Lions have a big game coming up Friday night, a battle for first place in the Frontier Athletic Conference at Chillicothe High School.
Washington could not afford to — and did not — look past Tuesday night’s non-conference opponent, the Waverly Tigers, who were guests of the Blue Lions.
Washington had a very strong start to the game and went on to post a 50-44 victory.
The Blue Lions were led by senior Evan Upthegrove with 16 points. He hit two of Washington’s three three-point field goals.
The rest of the scoring was spread pretty evenly among five players.
Senior Omar Porter had nine points, senior Blaise Tayese scored eight, senior Richie Burns had seven points, including one three-point field goal, junior Garitt Leisure scored six points and junior Miguel O’Flaherty had four points.
The game’s leading scorer was Waverly junior Payton Shoemaker who connected on five three-point field goals and finished with a total of 18 points.
Senior Cobe Marquez scored nine points and freshman Trey Robertson had six points for the Tigers.
The Blue Lions took a 15-4 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Tigers made just about all of that lead vanish with a 17-7 second quarter.
At the half, Washington held a 22-21 lead.
Both teams scored eight points in the third quarter, setting the stage for the climactic fourth quarter.
The Blue Lions won the fourth quarter, 20-15 to take the six-point victory.
“Waverly is a team of runs,” Washington head coach Connor Scott said. “We went up 15-4 and at no point was I comfortable. And, at no point were they like, ‘oh, no.’ That’s just the way they play.
“Then they ran right back and took the lead,” Scott said. “I think we were up one at the half. They are really hard to (prepare) for. You really can’t replicate (what they do) in practice. It’s just 32 minutes of chaos. I’m really, really happy with this win, for sure.
“I told Evan after the game, ‘I don’t know if you realize how good of a game you played,’” Scott said. “He played 32 minutes up and down. I kept looking at him, ‘do you need a sub.’ He was like, ‘no, coach, I’m fine.’ He was incredible. It’s not like he’s guarding a guy who can’t play. He’s guarding (Cody) Remington on the other side. I’m really proud of Evan.
“Miguel and Eli (Lynch) came off the bench and did what they needed to do,” Scott said. “Miguel’s first touch of the ball was a steal and a layup.
“Drew Moats, he’s such a coachable kid,” Scott said. “He’ll play two minutes or 12 minutes. He started the first two games. He just does everything we need him to do.
“Richie hit a big three when the game was tied, 19-19,” Scott said.
Washington (9-3 overall, 5-1 FAC) will play at 5-1 Chillicothe Friday with the j-v game first starting at 6 p.m.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
W 15 7 8 20 — 50
Wav. 4 17 8 15 — 44
WASHINGTON — Eli Lynch 0-0-0; Evan Upthegrove 5 (2)-0-16; Miguel O’Flaherty 2-0-4; Blaise Tayese 2-4-8; Garitt Leisure 3-0-6; Omar Porter 3-3-9; Drew Moats 0-0-0; Richie Burns 2 (1)-0-7. TOTALS — 17 (3)-7-50. Free throw shooting: 7 of 9 for 78 percent. Three-point field goals: Upthegrove, 2; Burns. Field goal shooting: 20 of 38 for 53 percent. Three-point field goal shooting: 3 of 9 for 33 percent. Turnovers: 22. Points off turnovers: 14.
WAVERLY — Tanner Smallwood 0-0-0; Cobe Marquez 4-1-9; Payton Shoemaker 1 (5)-1-18; Mark Stulley 0-0-0; Trey Robertson 3-0-6; Cody Remington 2-1-5; Ethan Dunn 1-0-2; Hayden Shanks 0-0-0; Easton Wolf 2-0-4. TOTALS — 13 (5)-3-44. Free throw shooting: 3 of 10 for 30 percent. Three-point field goals: Shoemaker, 5. Field goal shooting: 18 of 48 for 38 percent. Three-point field goal shooting: 5 of 13 for 38 percent. Turnovers: 14. Points off turnovers: 15.