ATHENS — It was a battle of the top two seeds in the Southeast District when the McClain Tigers took on the Waverly Tigers in a Division II Regional semifinal game at the Convocation Center in Athens Thursday night.
Waverly won the game, 50-44 in overtime.
Waverly improves to 22-4 and will play Heath for a Regional championship Saturday and a trip to the State tournament which is being held at the University of Dayton.
Heath defeated Meadowbrook Thursday, 47-44.
“This game was played at the pace we needed it to be played at,” McClain head coach Joe B. Stewart said. “(It was) in the neighborhood where we had the opportunity to get them.
“This was one where you could take a fine-tooth comb through it and you’re probably going to find a lot of things,” Stewart said. “What you couldn’t find was a better effort out of our guys. This is one heck of a setting. This was one heck of an opportunity; one heck of a basketball team we played against; one heck of a defensive effort to keep us in the neighborhood (where) we had an opportunity to win the ball game.
“Ultimately, you look at regulation and it was one where, gosh, one possession here or there…” Stewart said. “They took away some strengths for us and we still hung in there and hung in there. We just came up a bucket short. This is one where, if we could have played these guys until midnight, we would have beaten them.
“The hearts of our guys never wavered,” Stewart said. “The (time) just ran out on us.
“We had a great crowd here,” Stewart said. “We’re appreciative of the opportunity, we’re appreciative of our crowd. I just wish we had found one more bucket somewhere along the way.”
McClain could not have asked for a better start to the game, jumping out to an 11-2 lead.
At the end of the first quarter, however, Waverly had pulled even with McClain, 13-13.
McClain led by as many as four points in the second quarter.
Again, Waverly fought back and tied the game, 21-21 at the half.
McClain ran a deliberate offense to start the third quarter, taking over 90 seconds off the clock before shooting.
Waverly led by four points, 25-21, three minutes into the second half.
Badgley and Saunders hit back-to-back threes for McClain and Seth Wise scored with just over one minute remaining in the third.
Heading into the fourth quarter, the game was tied, 29-29.
Kendyll Toney drove to the basket and scored and drew a foul, converting the three-point play to give McClain a 32-29 lead.
Waverly kept finding Will Futhey inside for easy buckets.
Futhey really hurt McClain as he crashed the glass for a very impressive 11 offensive rebounds. He had a total of 15 rebounds and 17 points for Waverly.
“He was a problem for us,” Stewart said. “That became a three-person operation. Everybody we had really struggled to keep him off (the boards). We have good, smart guys there who give it all they’ve got. But he really hurt us on second chances. Ultimately it was the second chances, the free throw situation. They got a lot more opportunities.
“Their pressure bothered us in our half-court offense,” Stewart said. “We had some difficulty handling the ball. Ultimately, they got extra chances and frankly, we didn’t.”
Waverly tied McClain, 34-34 with 3:33 to play in regulation.
Trey Robertson, who led the game with 24 points, gave Waverly the lead with 2:50 to play.
Badgley hit a three to put McClain in front, 37-36.
Waverly got yet another offensive rebound and bucket to go back on top, 38-37.
Saunders responded for McClain to put the Purple and Gold Tigers back into the lead, 39-38 with just over two minutes to play in the fourth quarter.
Trey Robertson hit another three to make it 41-39, Waverly with 1:52 to play.
McClain missed its next shot.
Waverly ran 30 seconds off the clock before McClain committed its sixth foul of the half.
After another time out and another foul by McClain, Waverly went to the free throw line for a one and one.
Waverly missed the first attempt and McClain rebounded and went down and scored (a basket by Toney) tying the game, 41-41.
Waverly had the ball with 14.9 seconds left in regulation.
Trey Robertson finally drove to the basket, but was called for a charging foul.
McClain had the ball with 2.9 seconds left, but they turned it over, setting the stage for the four-minute overtime period.
Trey Robertson scored and McClain went down and missed a shot. McClain got the offensive rebound, but also missed the next shot attempt.
Waverly was content to run the clock, until McClain fouled with 2:03 to play.
Robertson made two free throws to make it 45-41.
McClain had a turnover and had to foul.
Waverly made one of two from the line with 1:27 remaining.
Waverly, with only two fouls called in the second half, had plenty of fouls to give.
McClain could not score and had to foul Robertson again, who made one of two to make it 47-41 with 1:07 to play.
Braden Wright scored for McClain. That bucket made it 47-43 with 45.9 seconds to play.
Waverly was going to run the clock down, so McClain had to foul. Again, Robertson, who did not make a free throw in regulation, made two more throws to put the margin at 49-43.
Badgley went to the line and made one of three free throws with 24.6 seconds left.
McClain then had another turnover and Waverly made one more free throw to put the final at 50-44.
Waverly was 7 of 10 from the line in overtime.
Keys to the game included Waverly having 25 rebounds, with 14 of those on the offensive end, to 19 for McClain (four offensive).
McClain had 17 turnovers to 9 for Waverly.
Waverly went 10 of 17 from the line while McClain was 4 of 6.
Second chance points went to Waverly, 11-5.
McClain finishes the 2021-22 season at 17-4 and says thank you and good-bye to its 10 seniors: Preston Saunders, Bryson Badgley, Jase Allison, Isaac Carroll, Evann Mischal, Seth Wise, Braden Wright, Kendyll Toney, Wesley Potts and Chris Starkey.
“Our guys’ faith in each other, our guys’ heart and hustle, never wavered,” Stewart said. “We’re darn proud of them.”
Stewart spoke collectively about McClain’s 10 seniors.
“You’re an athlete that didn’t give in,” Stewart said. “Ten seniors. Understand, the road for each one of these guys hasn’t been rosy. It’s been be on the bench some. It’s been playing j-v as a junior. Their ability to just hang in there, play hard, smart and together.
“Be passionate about what they do, each and every day,” Stewart said. “To come and work to improve every single day; be unified, find something to be thankful for in the journey, which is the lens we look through.
“The greatest quality when you look at this group, and frankly, our program is, when things have gone bad for us, boy they bounced back,” Stewart said. “The adversity we faced last year (referring to Bryson Badgley’s broken ankle) really equipped this group to do what we have.
“This is a championship team three times over,” Stewart said. “We played a real gutty game here. It wasn’t an artistic one for us by any stretch of the imagination. You know what, it wasn’t for Waverly, either. This was a get down and get after it kind of evening and we came up a couple of buckets short.”
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Mc 13 8 8 12 3 — 44
W 13 8 8 12 9 — 50
McCLAIN — Preston Saunders 2 (1)-0-7; Bryson Badgley 0 (3)-1-10; Seth Wise 2 (1)-0-7; Braden Wright 1-2-4; Kendyll Toney 5 (1)-1-14; Wesley Potts 1-0-2. TOTALS — 11 (6)-4-44. Free throw shooting: 4 of 6 for 67 percent. Three-point field goals: Badley, 3; Saunders, Wise, Toney. Field goal shooting: 17 of 35 for 49 percent. Three-point field goal shooting: 6 of 16 for 38 percent. Rebounds: 19 (4 offensive). Assists: 9. Turnovers: 17. Steals: 5. Points in the paint: 20. Second chance points: 5. Points off turnovers: 8.
WAVERLY — Mark Stulley 0-3-3; Hudson Kelly 0-0-0; Trey Robertson 6 (2)-6-24; Wade Futhey 0-0-0; Brayson Robertson 0 (2)-0-6; Pen Morrison 0-0-0; Will Futhey 8-1-17. TOTALS — 14 (4)-10-50. Free throw shooting: 10 of 17 for 59 percent. Three-point field goals: T. Robertson, 2; B. Robertson, 2. Field goal shooting: 18 of 44 for 41 percent. Three-point field goal shooting: 4 of 21 for 19 percent. Rebounds: 25 (14 offensive). Assists: 9. Turnovers: 9. Steals: 10. Points in the paint: 24. Second chance points: 11. Points off turnovers: 14.