In a game where both teams started off hot, Waynesville stayed warmer longer.
The Lady Tigers (15-2) defeated Washington (10-7), 62-51, in the finals of the Fourth Washington Girls Tournament Friday.
In a run and gun style first quarter, Washington raced out to a 20-14 advantage and still held a 31-29 edge at halftime.
As in the semifinals with Holt, quick points in transition were a big part of how Washington was able to build an early lead.
“When you’re getting the rebounds and preventing them from getting second looks, you’re able to do that,” Washington Head Coach Doug Light said. “Our kids are getting good at it and that’s what we’ve got to do. I think that’s when we’re at our best, striking early and getting after it.”
Waynesville came from behind on a big run late in the third quarter to go ahead 44-43.
“They went on a 19-0 run,” Light said. “Jackie (Arnold) dove for a ball, flipped it to Nichole (Brinker) and she took off and it was just out of Reese (Arnold)’s outreached hands. We were up seven and that would have put us up nine. Just missed it, a little long, and then they went on a 19-0 run from that point. They’re a good team. They started hitting shots and we didn’t get a chance to rebound at all. They were hitting shots from all over the place.”
Waynesville then stayed hot as the Lady Jays shooting went cold. The Lady Tigers outscored Washington 18-8 in the final frame to capture the trophy.
“They’re just so balanced and a pretty tough team,” Light said. “They’ve only got two losses, to Sullivan and to Nixa. ... It just kind of steamrolled and we just couldn’t stop it. We get a couple of timeouts and here’s what you tell your kids — ‘Hey, just keep fighting. It’s not over yet. Just hang in there,’ and to our credit we did and then we just missed a couple of shots.”
Washington earned the right to play for the championship for the fourth year in a row by defeating Warrenton in the first round and GAC Central rival Holt in the semifinals.
Along the way, the team got sterling performances from all-tournament selections Jackie Arnold and Reese Arnold.
Jackie Arnold’s 65 points in the tournament, including 25 in the championship game, made for the third-highest weeklong scoring performance in the tournament’s history.
With her performance in the championship game, Jackie Arnold moved above the 1,000 career points milestone. She also posted four rebounds with three assists and two steals.
Reese Arnold and Brinker both cracked double digits in the championship game. Reese scored 11 points to Brinker’s 10.
The Lady Jays additionally got three points from Brooke Robinson and two from Jessie Huxol.
Huxol led the team with 10 rebounds. Brinker had four rebounds, Bria Hasenjaeger three and Reese Arnold two.
Five assists from Brinker led the team. Huxol posted three assists and Hasenjaeger and Reese Arnold each dished out two.
Brinker’s three steals were also the team high. Hasenjaeger, Huxol and Reese Arnold each stole one.
The Lady Jays held tournament MVP Re’Shawna Stone to 10 points, following her 30-point night in the semifinals.
All-tournament selection Victoria Perry led the Lady Tigers in scoring in the championship game with 24 points.
Naudia Evans scored 11 for Waynesville and the team’s third all-tournament selection, Kiara Shoulders, scored 10.
Katie Handley put through four points and Makenzie Coleman three to round out the score sheet for Waynesville.