The Waynesville High School Tigers varsity basketball team defeated the Sullivan Eagles 51-36 in the third-place game of the 75th Annual St.James basketball tournament Saturday in St. James.
The Tigers jumped out to a 12-6 first-quarter lead, then outscored Sullivan 15-7 in the second quarter to enjoy a 27-13 lead at halftime. Sullivan rallied in the third quarter, outscoring Waynesville 10-7. But the Tigers bounced back to win the fourth quarter 17-13.
Jayden Smith led the Waynesville team with 19 points. He was the only Tiger in double figures.
The win followed a tough 60-59 loss by Waynesville to Blair Oaks in the tournament’s semi-final game Friday. In that game, the Tigers jumped out to an early lead, but couldn’t overcome a second-quarter rally by the Blair Oaks team. After battling back to tie the game on a free-throw by Smith, Blair Oaks won on a free-throw shot with 2 seconds on the clock. Eric Morriss led Waynesville with 15 points, while Shen Butler-Lawson added 12 points.
The Tigers defeated the Fatima Comets 60-54 in their tournament opener Feb. 21. Scoring leaders for the Tigers in that game were Smith, with 21 points, Morriss, with 13, and Xay McArthur with 12 points.
“Our guys bounced back from a tough loss Friday night and performed at a high level against Sullivan,” said Chris Pilz, WHS head coach. “Our guys competed and played together this week. They are starting to understand our defensive concepts, which is an important part of (becoming) a championship team.”
Up next: Waynesville (10-5) is scheduled to play host to the Glendale High School Falcons from Springfield, Missouri, Tuesday. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. in the WHS gymnasium.