But the Wayland girls did just that in the opening round of the Class B district tournament Monday evening by recording a convincing 59-39 triumph over longtime O-K Gold Conference rival Grand Rapids South Christian.
It wasn’t as easy as it looks. The Lady Wildcats had beaten South last Friday night 64-42 at home, but this time they were in the Sailors’ lair, where about a month ago they barely escaped with a 54-49 foil of a serious upset bid. And South Christian, though not the usual powerhouse, still sported a 12-8 overall record and was a solid third in one of the toughest girls’ basketball conferences in the state.
But the Sailors’ season came to an abrupt end at the hands of a state-ranked Wayland squad that will take a 20-1 record into Wednesday evening’s semifinal against little-known Kentwood Grand River Prep, which sports a gaudy 16-2 overall record, but observers have questioned whether it’s played anybody who’s anybody.
If the Lady Wildcats can win that one they will take on either Wyoming Godwin Heights or Kelloggsville in the district finals at 7 p.m.
Wayland had two huge quarters Monday night, the first and the third, to subdue the Sailors. The Lady ‘Cats streaked to a 19-8 advantage and the end of the first period and led 26-16 at intermission. The third quarter told the story, as relentless defensive pressure limited South Christian to just four points while Wayland had 18 and coach Marty Howard’s group, O-K Gold Conference co-champions, were enjoying a 44-20 cushion going into the last eight minutes.
Presley Hudson’s 14 points led the way for a balanced Wildcat scoring attack. Senior forward Morgan Winger had 12 points, junior Ali Martus had 10, Ali Cutler eight, Hope Dollarhide seven and Sydney Ritz six.
Jennifer DeBoer led South Christian with 10 points.
PHOTO: Morgan Winger dropped in a dozen points for Wayland in its district tourney-opening victory over South Christian. (Photo courtesy Kenny Ritz)