One is that the Wildcats’ 47-38 victory over Wyoming marked the second straight time they have defeated one of the five called “teams to watch” this year by MLive Grand Rapids.
Another reason it’s special is that it’s more than probable that coaches, fans and sports writers around West Michigan have lowered their expectations of Wayland because it graduated Presley Hudson, the all-stater and Miss Basketball runner-up who’s now lighting up baskets for Central Michigan University.
But coach Marty Howard’s group already is sending a nasty message to everybody: We were and are more than just Presley Hudson.
The Wildcats started a bit slowly, falling behind 13-9 after the first period and 24-18 at intermission. They took over from there, however, with a 12-4 run in the third quarter and a 17-10 cushion in the last eight minutes. That means they scored twice as many points, 29 to 14 as the Wolves, in the second half.
Senior guard Ali Cutler led Wayland with 11 points and Hope Dollarhide had 10. Sydney Ritz and and Ali Martus both added eight points to the balanced offensive attack.
The stellar Wildcat defense stepped up again, holding college-bound Wyoming standout Claire Hendrickson to eight points. Ritz was given a lot of the credit.
Kiarah Copeland led the Wolves with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
The victory followed a 59-44 triumph over Rockford Tuesday to open the season. And the ‘Cats cannot be accused of taking on a weak schedule. They’ll play at home against Hudsonville next Friday night, and maybe you guessed it already — the Eagles were rated yet another of the five “teams to watch” by MLive Grand Rapids.
PHOTOS: Ali Cutler Ali Martus
(Photos courtesy Kenny Ritz)