Williamsburg’s dynamic duo of Tara Dennis and Heidi McManus did most of the grunt work on Thursday, Dec. 15 as the Wildcats took down Felicity, 49-31.
Williamsburg got out to a slow start due to some poor shot selection in their first few trips down the floor. The taller Wildcats were able to use that size advantage on the defensive end to frustrate Felicity, however, and when head coach Ken Lowe got his message through to his girls, the game took on an entirely different feel.
“I was upset because of the way the kids were outside taking jump shots,” Lowe said. “Being that we were a bigger team, all I had to do was talk to them and say, ‘hey, look ladies, we’re a bigger team than they are, let’s stick to our game plan. It will work for us.’”
Leading by one with the seconds ticking away in the first quarter, McManus forced a Felicity turnover and put up a running three-pointer that banked in as time expired to give the Wildcats a 9-6 lead.
As it tends to do, the offense for both squads picked up in the second quarter. Felicity’s Arica Stutz, the Cardinals’ go-to scorer, got on track offensively while bodying up Dennis on the defensive end, making Williamsburg’s 6-foot senior take contested shots.
“Stutz is a good player, I have a lot of respect for her,” Lowe said. “She’s a good athlete, period. I knew coming into the game that she would be a problem for us because she’s so athletic.”
With Dennis unable to get much going offensively, McManus picked up the slack. The 5-foot-4 senior guard dropped 11 points in the second quarter and added yet another buzzer-beating three-pointer to end the half, giving the Wildcats a 22-17 advantage.
“It’s nice to have two,” Lowe said of his major scoring threats. “Heidi’s had some really good games the last two games.
“She’s starting to step up, she’s starting to be a point guard and a true leader.”
Felicity came out in the second half and scored five unanswered points in the first minute and a half that tied the game and forced Coach Lowe to call an early timeout. After settling his team down, the Wildcats ended the third quarter on a 13-3 run to give Williamsburg their first real cushion of the game at 38-25.
The Cardinals wouldn’t go away, however. After a Stutz-led flurry of points, Dennis made her presence known down low, banging bodies with the smaller Felicity front line. Dennis’ size advantage manifested itself on the offensive glass as the Wildcats’ leading scorer was able to play volleyball with herself, getting rebounds off her own missed shots and putting them back in for easy points.
“She struggled in the first half, but she really picked it up in the second half,” Lowe said. “Being her size, she’s been our leading scorer for the last few years now, she means a lot to the team.”
Dennis ended the game with 16 points and 14 rebounds as well as using her size in the lane to alter shots, including four blocks.
McManus scored a game-high 23 points and added eight steals and four assists to her stat line. Over her last two games, McManus has scored 49 points for the Wildcats.
Between Dennis and McManus, they scored 41 of the 49 Williamsburg points.
Aside from those two, junior forward Sarah Wetzel played a good game, scoring eight points.
For Felicity, Stutz was their bright spot in a disappointing loss. She scored 17 points. The Cardinals sit in sixth place in the Southern Buckeye Conference National Division at 0-5. The Cardinals lost on Saturday, Dec. 17 against Amelia. Felicity wrapped up their pre-Christmas schedule on Monday when they hosted St. Bernard.
The Wildcats improved to 2-3 on the season with the win. The Wildcats last game before Christmas was on Dec. 19 at Deer Park.
Felicity (0-6) – Stutz 8 1 17, Lucas 1 0 3, Corbin 2 1 7, Arkenau 1 0 2, Obermeyer 1 0 2. Totals: 18 7 49.
Williamsburg (3-4) – McManus 8 1 23, Wetzel 2 2 6, Dennis 6 4 16, Gifford 1 0 2. Totals: 18 7 49.
Halftime: Williamsburg 22-17. 3-pointers: F 3 (Corbin 2, Lucas); W 6 (McManus 6).