Effective free-throw shooting late in the game made the difference for the Waynesville High School Tigers varsity boys’ basketball team, which took home a 43-40 Ozark Conference win over the Hornets of Hillcrest High School Friday in Springfield, Missouri.
The Tigers jumped out to an early lead and went into the locker room with a comfortable 21-16 cushion at halftime.
But the Hornets cut the lead down late in the third period and challenged the Tigers for the lead throughout the fourth quarter.
Trailing by a point with 20 seconds remaining, Tahja Stewart was fouled on a drive to the basket and made both the resulting free-throws to give his team a 41-40 lead.
Zeke Rogers followed on the next play with two free-throws of his own to secure the win.
The Hornets attempted a 3-point shot as the final seconds ticked away but came up short.
Stewart led the Tigers with 21 points.
“I was proud of the way our guys fought through adversity tonight and found a way to win,” said Chris Pilz, WHS head boys’ basketball coach. “Stewart rose above the adversity to hit a big basket and knocked down two big free throws to give us the lead late. Zeke Rogers came up with a big steal and hit two clutch free throws to seal the victory.”
Up Next: The WHS boys’ varsity team is scheduled to travel to St. James, where they’re scheduled to play the first round of the St. James Tournament at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
In other WHS sports news:
The Lady Tigers varsity girls’ basketball team fell behind early and couldn’t make up the deficit in a 59-30 loss to the visiting Jefferson City Lady Jays Friday.
Senior guard/forward Victoria Perry led the team with 15 points, but was the only Lady Tiger in double figures.
Up next: The Lady Tigers are scheduled to travel to Columbia, Missouri, where they will take on the Hickman High School Kewpies varsity girls’ team at 7 p.m. tonight.