Waverly traveled to Wahoo on Thursday night, dug a double-digit hole in the second half then stormed back in the fourth to pull off a 60-58 win thanks in part to some later heroics by Andrew Heffelfinger.
Jacob Padilla has five thoughts on the game.
After a back-and-forth first 10 minutes, Wahoo pulled ahead in the second quarter and took a 30-24 lead into halftime. The Warriors built their lead up to 15 midway through the third quarter at 46-31.
Sophomore guard Preston Harms gave the Vikings a spark from there, however, scoring five straight as part of a 9-2 close to the period, making the deficit more manageable heading into the fourth at 48-40.
Waverly picked up the intensity on both ends of the floor, forcing turnovers and crashing the glass relentlessly. Sophomore Owen Hancock put the Warriors up 53-44 midway through the period with a 3. Waverly answered with a 9-0 run capped by a Heffelfinger 3 to tie the game up with 2:50 to go.
Wahoo pulled back in front by three with just under two minutes to play. Waverly made nothing but winning plays the rest of the way. A four-point possessions featuring three offensive rebounds, a steal, two free throws and a bucket put the Vikings ahead 57-56.
Hancock hit a jumper to briefly retake the lead for Wahoo, but Waverly patiently worked the ball around and got it inside to Heffelfinger, and he delivered with a tough bucket off the glass. Waverly got a stop on the other end and Harms split a pair of free throws, then Waverly picked off Wahoo’s deep pass at the buzzer to seal it.
All five starters scored at least a point in the fourth quarters as Waverley outscored Wahoo 20-10. Heffelfinger shot 1-for-8 in the first three quarters, but when it mattered most he delivered, scoring seven of his nine points in the fourth. Harms scored 12 of his 15 points in the last 12 minute after shooting 1-for-6 in the first half. Waverly forced five live-ball turnovers, grabbed six offensive rebounds and hit three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to complete the comeback.
Heffelfinger made the biggest play of the game, but junior guard Cole Murray was the star of the night for the Vikings. He finished with 25 points on 8-of-15 from the field (4-of-9 from 3) and 5-of-8 from the foul line with six assists and five steals.
Murray put the team on his back early, scoring 11 points in the first quarter. He also made some big plays late as he was responsible for one of the free throws and the steal and assisted the bucket on the four-point possession that gave Waverly the lead.
Murray came up big for the Vikings, but senior guard Trevor Kassichke went bucket-for-bucket with him throughout the game. Kasischke finished with 26 points on 11-of-14 shooting.
Kasischke went 4-of-5 from deep including one from well beyond the arc and he also showed off some terrific body control on his finishes around the rim. He missed one shot in the last three quarters.
The 6-foot-3 senior is having a terrific season, averaging just shy of 20 points, five rebounds and three steals. He’s nearly doubled his offensive output from his junior season as he’s stepped into the No. 1 option role this year.
Both teams spent the entire game sitting in a zone defense on Thursday night, giving the game a unique look. Wahoo ran the 1-3-1 zone it’s known for while Waverly rolled out a 2-3 zone.
I thought both teams looked well prepared for what they were going to see from the defense as both sides were patient on offense and moved the ball well. However, they also combined for 33 turnovers and both sides struggled to rebound out of their zones.
Wahoo had 14 offensive rebounds, though all 14 came in the first three quarters. Waverly grabbed 11 offensive boards, but six of them came in the fourth quarter as the Vikings stormed back to pull out the win. Wahoo playing a zone made the comeback from the 15-point deficit all the more impressive because it’s often difficult to generate quick looks against that defense.
Kasischke is Wahoo’s best player, but he’s one of just two seniors on the roster. Hancock (a sophomore) is second on the team in scoring this year, Marcus Glock (a freshman) is third and Garrett Grandgenett (a sophomore) is third. In total, Wahoo has two juniors, six sophomores and two freshmen on its varsity roster. This is a really young team.
Hancock had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds and shot 2-of-5 from deep against Waverly. He’s a 41% 3-point shooter with a strong frame at 6-foot-1.
Glock, the son of former Nebrasketball player Jason Glock, is one of the state’s leading scorers among freshmen at just over 11 points per game. Glock scored eight points on Tuesday, hitting two of his four 3-point attempts. He needs to add some weight to his frame, but he’s an incredibly skilled southpaw who is shooting 86% from the foul line and 36% from deep.
The 6-foot-4 Grandgenett chipped in eight points and eight boards on Thursday and is leading the Warriors in rebounding this season while chipping in just under 10 points per game.
Kasischke is going to be a big loss for the Warriors next season, but they’re going to be a problem in Class C1 for years to come.
Jacob is in his third year with Hail Varsity covering Husker athletics. He has also written extensively for SB Nation’s Bright Side of the Sun and The Creightonian. His love of basketball can best be described as an obsession and if you need to find him, he’s probably in a gym somewhere watching, coaching or playing hoops.