The Lady Wildcats, fresh from a disappointing 64-42 loss Friday to Grand Rapids Catholic Central, methodically dissected their opponents with the customary full-court pressure, deadly outside shooting and crisp passing for easy baskets under the hoop. Coach Marty Howard even got to try out a matchup zone as a possible weapon during the remainder of the season.
And there really isn’t much left of a memorable campaign in which Wayland has racked up 18 victories against that one defeat, en route to a No. 4-ranking in the latest state Class B Associated Press poll. The ‘Cats will end the regular season at home at 7:30 p.m. Friday against Grand Rapids South Christian, and if they win that one, they will earn a share of the O-K Gold Conference championship, something they and Cath0lic Central also did three years ago.
Then, in an unusual twist of fate, Wayland will turn right around and face the Sailors again in the opening round at 7 p.m. Monday of the Class B district tournament at South Christian’s gym. It’ll be like a home and home series.
The Wildcats expect a stiff test in both games. The last time they played South Christian they escaped an upset bid, 54-49, helped along by a blown free throw call by referees in the last half minute.
But Tuesday night felt like the last party of the season. The contest was not in doubt except for the first couple of minutes.
Hastings guard Erin Goggins started the ballgame with a three, which was answered quickly by the same from Wayland senior guard Caroline (C.J.) Miller. The Saxons went up by one point, 4-3, on a free throw, but then scored just three points for the remainder of the first quarter. Meanwhile, a couple of inside baskets engineered by Ali Martus to Morgan Winger and Presley Hudson to Miller made it 7-4. Martus then converted a three-point and Hudson and Miller followed this with back-to-back threes. Wayland was off and running with a 17-7 advantage.
Hastings, which had a difficult enough time just bring the ball up the floor, went six and a half minutes scoring just one basket in the second period and fell deeper into a deficit that would grow like weeds.
Howard got so relaxed he emptied his bench midway in the second quarter. By game’s end, all but one of his players had broken into the scoring column and the last period and a half was marked by a running clock.
Though Hudson hardly broke a sweat and sat out almost half the ballgame, she finished with 17 points, about five below her per-game average. Martus contributed 12 points and Miller and junior forward Hope Dollarhide both counted 10, as four ‘Cats reached double figures.
Goggins finished with five points to lead Hastings, which failed to score in double figures as a team in all four quarters.
PHOTO: Ali Martus (23) collected a dozen points in Wayland’s merry 72-20 romp Tuesday evening over Hastings. (Photo courtesy Kenny Ritz)