December 30, 2021 Chris Manning

SAYRE — It wasn't the prettiest game for Waverly on the offensive end, especially from the free throw line, where they shot 5-for-20, but coach Bob Kelly was glad to be holding the Valley Christmas Tournament girls' basketball trophy at the end.

"It's impressive," Kelly said about his team's 40-34 win over Towanda on Thursday. "We always say, ‘when the ball's not going in the basket, you can always play defense.' And, we played some pretty solid defense."

Their speed and physicality caused Towanda problems all night long, especially in the early going, when they took a 10-0 lead right out of the gate.

"The pressure was very key," said Kelly. "That's what our goal was to start. We had a good start, and it's tough when you have to dig out of a hole. And they did, they fought hard to battle back.”

Waverly missed their first 11 free throw shots on the night, but they did hit six 3-pointers on the day, and, came back to make three freebies in the final 30 seconds to ice the game.

"You know, we couldn't put the ball in the ocean," Kelly remarked. "It didn't matter if it was a free throw, it didn't matter if it was a lay-up — it just wasn't going in. But down the stretch, Kennedy Westbrook was 3-for-4 from the line when we needed it in crunch time, and that's huge."

Olivia Nittinger had 13 points to lead the Wolverines, including three 3-pointers, while Addison Westbrook added nine points. Paige Robinson had seven points, Kennedy Westbrook notched five, Lourden Benjamin had four, and Peyton Shaw finished the game with three points.

Paige Manchester had a double-double of 17 points and 16 boards, to go along with three assists, and two steals to lead Towanda, with Bella Hurley adding eight points, six rebounds, and two steals.

Gracie Schoonover had four points, and grabbed 14 boards, while Eliza Fowler rounded out the scoring with five points.

The Wolverines jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the early going, then got back-to-back 3-pointers from Robinson and Nittinger to take their 10-0 lead with 5:45 left in the opening frame.

Manchester got Towanda on the scoreboard with a free throw, but a Waverly lay-up at the three-minute mark saw them take a 12-1 advantage.

Manchester and Kennedy Westbrook traded lay-ups, before the Knights scored five points in the final 30 seconds off a Hurley 3-ball and two more Manchester freebies, to cut it to 14-8.

The Wolverines would extend their lead to 16-8 off a putback to start the second quarter, but three straight points from Towanda saw them cut it to 16-11.

Back-to-back buckets from Addison Westbrook — first a 3-pointer, followed by a lay-up — pushed Waverly's lead back to double-digits, at 21-11, with 3:40 left in the half.

Manchester responded for the Knights, first with two free throws, then with a 3-pointer off an Aziza Ismailova assist, to get it back down to a five-point deficit, at 21-16.

Nittinger then bagged a 3-pointer with 55 seconds to play in the quarter to extend the lead again to 24-16. Manchester got the final say, though, hitting two more free throws with 4.9 seconds on the clock for a 24-18 halftime score.

Manchester would be held scoreless in the third quarter, but Towanda still dug into the lead. It was scoreless for the first 3:20 of the frame until Benjamin hit a 3-ball to push the Wolverine advantage to 27-18.

Towanda then responded with seven straight points — a Fowler 3-pointer and lay-up, followed by a Hurley bucket — to cut it to 27-25 with 1:30 left in the third quarter.

An Addison Westbrook steal and lay-up saw Waverly push it to 29-25, but in the final seconds Manchester hit Schoonover for a basket to pull within two, 29-27, with one quarter left to go.

In the first minute of the fourth quarter, Towanda had two close shots rim out, baskets that would have tied it for them, and given them their first lead.

In any case, it was Waverly once again making a push, beginning with a made free throw — their first of the game — by Shaw. That was followed by a jumper from Robinson, and a 3-ball from Nittinger — her third of the game — to push their lead back to 35-27 with 3:22 left.

With 2:55 on the clock, Manchester hit a lay-up to pull to within six, 35-29. However, Waverly ran some clock as it grabbed two offensive rebounds on its next possession.

They would turn it over on an illegal screen, but there was just 1:38 left to play.

The Wolverines would get the ball back after a Towanda miss, with Benjamin hitting a lay-up to extend their lead to 37-29 with 1:17 left to play.

Manchester would hit two more freebies to cut it to 37-31 with 48.5 seconds left, but would turn it over on their next possession on a five-second call.

Kennedy Westbrook then went to the line for a pair and hit both to make it 39-31 with 27.2 seconds left to effectively end the game.

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December 30, 2021 Tim Birney

WINDSOR — Waverly junior Ty Beeman pulled out another close decision in the semifinals, but ran into a two-time state champion in the finals, and had to settle for a runner-up finish here Thursday at the rugged Windsor Christmas Wrestling Tournament.

After winning a one-point decision, and two bouts in overtime on Wednesday, Beeman pulled out a 3-2 win over third-seeded Matthew Caldwell of Starpoint in the 215-pound semifinals, before dropping a 10-1 decision to top-seeded Sammy Sorenson of Homer, who has won states titles in Wyoming and New York.

"Ty (Beeman) had an amazing tournament," said Waverly coach Devan Witman. "For being where he is now, he's just come so far.

"With two overtimes wins and a one-point win (Wednesday), and another one-point win in the semifinals … that's just heart and grit, right there.

"He ran into a stud in the finals," noted Witman. "He knew what he was up against, and he went after it. He didn't back down. (Sorenson) has won a state championship in two different state … he's the real deal.

"Ty is going to learn from this experience," added Witman. "He gets better every time he hits the mat."

After a scoreless first period, Beeman scored a quick escape in the second period of his semi-final bout against Caldwell, who duplicated the feat early in the third period to tie the bout at 1-1.

With 1:25 remaining in the third period, Beeman got in deep on a single-leg for a takedown and a 3-1 lead. Caldwell escaped with 43 seconds remaining, but Beeman fought off his takedown attempts, and advanced to the finals.

Beeman, who was the 18th seed, beat the second seed and the seventh seed on Wednesday, before knocking off Caldwell, who was the third seed.

In the finals, Sorenson scored a takedown 20 seconds into the bout, and eventually turned Beeman for two near-fall points with 10 seconds remaining to take a 4-0 lead into the second period.

Sorenson scored a reversal 12 seconds into the second period, and rode top for the remaining 1:48 to take a 6-0 lead into the final two minutes.

Sorenson scored a quick takedown in the third period, then cut Beeman loose, and scored another takedown for the major decision.

The only other Wolverine in action in Day 2 of the tournament was junior Connor Stotler, who dropped a 7-5 overtime decision to Horseheads junior Cael Owen in the "blood round" — one round shy of placing.

Stotler tied the bout at 5-5 with a takedown midway through the third period, but Owen was able to get the takedown in the extra session for the win.

"Connor (Stotler) is starting to come around," said Witman. "I know it didn't end up the way he wanted it to, but he is finally starting to eliminate some of the mistakes he was making early in the year.

"He's opening up his offense, but he's not making the big mistakes he was making a couple weeks ago," added Witman.

The Wolverines ended up 19th in the team standings with 38 points. Tioga won the team title with 154.5 points, well ahead of runner-up Indian River, which tallied 107 points — just 1/2-point ahead of third-place Honeoye Falls-Lima.

"It was story of two different rounds," said Witman "I thought we looked good in the first round, but as the (Wednesday) went on, the environment of the Windsor Tournament kind of hit us.

"I told the guys (Wednesday), it's the small mistakes when you get to a big tournament like this that make the difference.

"It's still early in the year, we're not even halfway through the season," added Witman. "We need to start eliminating those small mistakes, and wrestling full six-minute matches without mistakes."

Waverly returns to dual action Wednesday at Newark Valley.

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December 29, 2021 Tim Birney

WAVERLY — Waverly shook off a slow start, and used pressure defense and balanced scoring in an 81-46 win over Sayre here Wednesday night in the consolation game of the boys Valley Christmas Basketball Tournament.

"I thought we might come out a little flat coming off that emotion game (Tuesday) night with Athens, and we did," said Waverly coach Lou Judson. "We were a step slow and lethargic in our defensive rotations early on and (Sayre) hit some 3s in the first half.

"We played pretty well in the second quarter, and took an 8-point lead at the half.

"Then, we switched up some defenses, and went to some full-court traps and made it more of an up-and-down paced game, and really got some points in transition off our defense," noted Judson.

"We probably played the best second half we've played this year," he added.

Judson said it wasn't all about the defensive adjustments.

"I think the guys just woke up," he said. "We may have taken our opponent a little bit lightly, but the guys realized Sayre came to play tonight and we need to get going.

"We had a nice discussion at half about what we needed to do," added Judson. "We made the adjustments, and the kids played a great second half."

Junior Jackson Hubbard scored nine points, including a 3-pointer, in the first quarter, while senior Dom Fabbri knocked down a pair of treys, and freshman Nick Pellicano added a 3-pointer to help the Redskins to a 20-18 lead after the first eight minutes.

Sophomore Joey Tomasso scored seven points, including a 3-pointer, while senior Brady Blauvelt added six points, and senior Liam Traub canned a 3-pointer and scored five points to keep the Wolverines within two points at the end of the opening stanza.

Tomasso drained a 3-pointer early in the second quarter, but Fabbri and senior Josh Arnold each connected from behind the 3-point arc, and senior Kannon VanDuzer scored five points to keep Sayre even for the first half of the second quarter.

Senior Brennan Traub scored six points, and junior Isaiah Bretz and Tomasso each scored four as the Wolverines closed the half with a 10-2 run to take a 39-31 lead at the halftime intermission.

Brennan Traub and Blauvelt combined for 14 points in the third quarter, and junior Nate DeLill knocked down a 3-pointer in a 23-7 blitz that extended the Waverly advantage to 62-38 entering the final eight minutes.

Waverly kept it rolling in the fourth quarter as six different players fund the scoring column in a game-closing 19-8 run.

Brennan Traub led Waverly with 19 points, three assists, three steals, and one blocked shot, while Tomasso had 18 points and three assists, and Blauvelt added 16 points and seven boards.

Bretz scored eight points in the win, while Liam Traub had seven points, six rebounds, four assists, and three blocked shots, DeLill scored seven points, senior Davis Croft chipped in with six points, and senior Declan Murphy pulled down three rebounds.

Hubbard led Sayre with 17 points, including three 3-pointers, while Fabbri had 14 points, including four 3-pointers, and VanDuzer scored a season-high nine points.

Waverly, now 4-3, returns to action Jan. 3 at Thomas A. Edison, while Sayre (2-4) is off until Jan. 6 when it hosts Canton.

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December 29, 2021 Tim Birney

WINDSOR — If Ty Beeman were a cat, his "Nine Lives," would be down to six or seven after the first day of the Windsor Christmas Wrestling Tournament here Wednesday.

The Waverly junior won three close decisions, including a pair of overtime wins, to advance to Thursday morning's semifinals.

"Two overtime wins against kids who were seeded above him, that's just great heart," said Waverly coach Devan Witman.

"In the first period of both matches, he got out of position a little bit and it cost him, but it wasn’t a wall for him," noted Witman. "He broke through it, and continued to wrestle, and continued to fight; that’s what we do.

"I preach to our guys that it's the third period, where the heart takes over," added Witman. "Ty's got heart, and never quits. I love that."

Beeman entered the 215-pound bracket as the 19th seed, and opened his day with a 1-0 win over Towanda's Aiden Miller.

In the round-of-16, Beeman needed a reversal at the third-period buzzer to force overtime, where he hit a five-point move midway through the 60-second extra session to score an 11-6 win over second-seeded Jake Whitmore of Indian River.

In the quarterfinals, Beeman trailed Groton's Donovan Mitchell, the seventh seed, 7-2, in the second period, but battled back to win an 11-9 overtime decision, again scoring a takedown in the closing seconds to force the extra session.

Beeman was the only one of four Wolverines that advanced to the semifinals to win. Of the other three "” juniors Connor Stotler, Gage Tedesco, and Braedon Hills "” only Stotler remains alive in wrestlebacks.

Stotler, the ninth seed in the 132-pound weight class, pinned eighth-seeded Noah Sovocool of Walton-Delhi in 5:52 in the round-of-16, but was pinned by top-seeded Caden Bellis of Tioga in 2:50 in the quarterfinals.

Stotler won his only consolation bracket match of the afternoon by fall over BGAH’s Jose Bivar in 2:28.

"Connor looked good in the opening round, then ran into a stud (Bellis)," said Witman.

"I"m looking for him to come back and place in this tournament, which is something he hasn't done yet," added Witman. "I know his goal is to place in this tournament."

At 172 pounds, Tedesco, who was the fourth seed, forged a 7-1 decision over CBA / Jamesville-Dewitt's Leo Tallarico in his opening match, but was pinned by fifth-seeded Ray Hutton of LaSalle Academy in 4:37 in the quarterfinals.

Tedesco was eliminated via fall by Marathon's Trevor Hurlburt in 1:19 in his first wrestleback bout.

At 152 pounds, Braedon Hills pinned James Brady of Manhassett in 1:10 in his first match, but pinned by second-seeded Vandavian Way of Gouverneur in 1:59 in the quarterfinals.

Braedon Hills dropped an 8-5 decision to Burnt Hills" Thomas Pawlinga in his first wrestleback match.

At 118 pounds, junior Landon McCarty finished  the day at 2-2.

He opened with a 12-4 major decision over Deposit-Hancock's Tanner Macumber, but was pinned by third-seeded Chase Nevills of Copenhagen in 1:14 in the quarterfinals.

In the consolation bracket, McCarty pinned Marathon's Brendan Gumear in 2:24, then dropped a 6-4 decision to Gouverneur's Clyer Baer in a bout he led 4-0.

At 285 pounds, freshman Kam Hills scored the quickest fall of the day, decking Tioga's Austin Babcock in 8 seconds in the opening round.

In the quarterfinals, Hills was pinned by top-seeded Charlie Tibbits of New Hartford in 2:52.

Hills then lost via fall in 4:07 to Bennett Howell of Chenango Forks in his first wrestleback match.

Senior Andrew Kimble (189 pounds), junior Anthony Speer (215), and freshman Hayden Larson (126) all went 0-2 on the day.

"We came out and we battled," said Witman. "All week, I’ve been telling our guys this is the toughest tournament we"re going to see until the Section tournament.

"I saw some good things," he noted. 'some of our kids who normally don't go into deeper waters were they and they survived.

"It didn't come out the way we wanted it every time, but I"m super-proud of the way we wrestled," added Witman.

Tioga, with seven in the semifinals, leads the team standings with 88.5 points, well ahead of runner-up Burnt Hills, which has 56 points, and third-place Manhasset, which has 51. Waverly is in 18th place in the 39-team field with 27 points — just 1/2-point behind Horseheads.

The semifinals begin at 9 a.m. Thursday morning.

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December 29, 2021 Tim Birney

ENS — Waverly held Sayre off the scoreboard for more than a quarter to start the game en route to a 43-13 win Wednesday afternoon in the consolation game of the junior varsity boys Valley Christmas Tournament.

Jon Searles scored eight points in the first quarter, and Bryce LaForest added four in a 14-0 game-opening blitz.

LaForest bombed home a trio of 3-pointers and scored 10 points in the second quarter to fuel a 16-3 run that gave the junior Wolverines a 30-3 advantage at the half.

Only Nick Pellicano’s 3-pointer prevented a first-half shutout.

Waverly outscored Sayre. 11-7, in the third quarter, but Sayre had a 3-2 edge in the final eight minutes.

LaForest led Waverly 19 points, including three 3-pointers, and three steals, while Searles added 12 points and 10 boards, and Jake VanHouten chipped in with six points and four rebounds.

Alex Burgess hauled down seven rebounds for Waverly, while Nehemiah Anthony dished out two assists.

Pellicano led Sayre with six points on a pair of 3-pointe

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December 29, 2021 Tim Birney

CORTLAND — Junior Kelsey Ward logged a pair of third-place finishes, 7th-grader Lauren Gorsline had a pair of top-five finishes, and sophomore Micah Chandler finished in the top six in two events to pace Waverly here Wednesday at the Quinney Indoor Track & Field Invite at SUNY Cortland.

The foursome of Ward, sophomore Allison Barrett, and freshmen Kiley Stillman and Kendal Shaffer finished third in the 1,600-meter relay in a time of 5:06.81.

Ward finished third in the 600-meter run in a time of 1:56.48, and was ninth in the long jump with a leap of 11-feet, 6-inches.

Gorsline was third in the 1,000-meter run in 3:39.98, and was fifth in the 1,500-meter run in 5:48.49.

Freshman Haylie Davenport had the best individual finish of the day for the Wolverines. She finished second in the 1,500-meter race walk in a time of 10:20.38, and 8th-grader Emma Vanderhoof was third in 10:45.28.

Barrett finished seventh in the 55-meter dash in 8.41 seconds.

Stillman was seventh in the high jump at 4-feet, 4-inches. She also finished 12th in the 300-meter dash in 53.09 seconds, and Shaffer was 13th in 53.48 seconds.

Freshman Teigan Allen finished 14th in the shot put with a heave of 16-feet, 2-inches.

Chandler finished fourth in the 55-meter hurdles in a time 10.05 seconds, and was sixth in the long jump with a leap of 15-feet, 5 3/4-inches.

Junior John Price finished seventh in the 300-meter dash in a time of 44.32 seconds, and 11th in the 55-meter dash in a time of 7.75 seconds. Freshman Ethan Gorsline was 16th in the 300 in a time of 47.37 seconds.

Senior Hunter Elston finished 16th in the shot put with a heave of 27-feet, 8-inches.

Waverly returns to action Jan. 7 at the Winterfest Invite at SUNY Cortland.

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December 28, 2021 Tim Birney

WAVERLY— Athens used a 10-0 run that bridged the final two quarters to take the lead, then held off Waverly down the stretch for a 61-53 win here Tuesday night in the opening round of the annual boys Valley Christmas Basketball Tournament.

"It was an unbelievable game— both ways, these kids just battled," said Athens coach Jim Lister. "They've known each other forever,  and I knew it was going to be a war tonight.

"Coach Judson is such a good basketball coach, I knew he's had his kids ready to go, and we would have to play great basketball to win this game.

"Our first goal for this season was to win the Christmas Tournament, so this puts us in position to do that Thursday night," added Lister.

"I'm proud of the guys," said Waverly coach Lou Judson. "You look at a team like (Athens) and the size they have, and the talent they have, you would think that they should be able to handle us.

"These guys fought all the way to the end, and we had opportunities to win that basketball game several times tonight," noted Judson. "But, at key moments of the game, we did not do the things basketball teams need to do to win games; that's the bottom line.

"We had too many wasted possessions," added Judson.

Despite the miscues, Judson was pleased with his team's performance.

"Elite teams find ways to win that basketball game "¦ we committed too many costly turnovers and were sloppy with the ball, maybe trying to do a little too much, but give credit to their defense," he said. "Athens is long and athletic, and they force you a long way away from the basket.

"We executed what we wanted to do tonight, but what are you going to do?" added Judson. "(Athens) is a good basketball team."

Waverly came out of the gate hot, with sophomore Joey Tomasso and senior Brennan Traub knocking down 3-pointers to give the Wolverines a 6-1 lead, which it stretched to 12-5 with 2:44 remaining in the first quarter.

The Wildcats closed the opening stanza with a 10-5 spurt, fueled by a 3-pointer and a driving lay-up by junior Mason Lister, to trim the deficit to 16-15.

Tomasso opened the second quarter with a deep 3-pointer to make it 19-15, but Lister buried a 3-pointer from the corner to trigger a 9-0 run that put Athens up 24-19 with 5:47 remaining in the first half.

Brennan Traub answered with five points— the first bucket off a nifty feed from Tomasso, and the second a deep 3-pointer— to tie the game at 24-24 midway through the second quarter.

Lister connected for a pair of buckets, sandwiched around a pair of free throws by junior Chris Mitchell, to give the Wildcats a 30-24 lead with 2:01 remaining in the first half.

Waverly closed the gap to 30-28, but Mitchell made a free throw, and scored on a lay-up off a bullet pass into the low block from senior J.J. Babcock with 34 seconds left in the half to put the Wildcats up 33-28 at the intermission.

Lister scored 18 of his team-high 21 points in the first half, and also had nine rebounds, while Mitchell scored all five of his points in the second quarter.

"(Mason) was focused tonight, I'm super-proud of him," said coach Lister. "He was shooting well, pounding the boards, and looking down the court "¦ I was just thrilled with his game tonight, it was just terrific.

"And what about Chris Mitchell," added Lister. "He's working hard every day in practice "¦ he's putting in the time, and it paid off tonight. I'm just thrilled with his game tonight."

Athens stretched its lead to seven points, at 35-28, on a bucket by Babcock in the opening moments of the third quarter, but a 3-pointer and a bucket in transition by Brennan Traub trimmed the gap to 35-33 with 6:09 remaining in the third quarter.

Senior Tucker Brown answered with a 3-pointer, and Babcock added a free throw with 4:15 remaining to make it 39-33, but senior Brady Blauvelt canned a trey, and Brennan Traub converted a steal into a lay-up to close the gap to 39-38 with 3:36 left in the third.

After a free throw by Lister, Tomasso scored on a driving lay-up to tie the game, and Brennan Traub buried another 3-pointer to give Waverly a 43-40 lead with 41 seconds remaining. Moments later, Brown made a pair of free throws to trim the lead to 43-42 entering the final eight minutes.

Brown turned a steal into a lay-up just 25 seconds into the fourth quarter to give Athens the lead for good at 44-43, then Lister, Babcock, and freshman Kolsen Keathley, off a beautiful bounce pass to the low blocks from Lister, added buckets to make it 50-43 with 4:04 remaining in the game.

Tomasso drained a runner and a 3-pointer, sandwiched around a pair of free throws by Athens senior Nalen Carling, to close the gap to 52-48 with 2:58 remaining.

After Athens missed the front end of a one-and-one, Brennan Traub scored on a short jumper to cut the deficit to 52-50 with 1:42 left in the contest, but the Wildcats closed the game with a 9-3 spurt.

After a bucket by senior Troy Pritchard in the low post made it 54-50, Babcock hauled down a defensive rebound and fired a full-court outlet pass to Brown for a lay-up with 48 seconds remaining to make it 56-50.

Brennan Traub kept Waverly's hopes alive with his fifth 3-pointer of the game with 26 seconds remaining, but Babcock made 3 of 4 free throws, and Carling was 2 of 2 in the final 16.6 seconds to seal the win.

The Wildcats finished the game with 11 assists in 20 total field goals.

"We passed the ball very well," said Lister. "It's something we've been working on since we started in November "¦ our half-court offense.

"We struggled with that last year," he noted. "We put a lot of offenses in this year, and we've spent a lot of time in practice working on it, and I think it's starting to pay off.

"Transition has been our game," Lister added. "We have no problem running up and down the court, we'll run up and down the court with anybody, but now we have both, and it's working."

Brown had 14 points, six steals, and four assists for the Wildcats, while Babcock added 12 points and nine rebounds, Carling chipped in with five points and three steals, and Pritchard grabbed three rebounds.

Brennan Traub led Waverly with 23 points, three rebounds, and two steals, while Tomasso added 20 points, including a trio of 3-pointers, and six rebounds

"Those two have predominantly been our scoring this year," said Judson. "I thought they both played well.

"We just need more scoring out of a third guy— consistently, which I think is going to come," he added.

Liam Traub chipped in with four points and one blocked shot, and senior Davis Croft recorded seven rebounds, three assists, and two blocked shots for the Wolverines, while Blauvelt had three rebounds and two steals, and junior Nate DeLill grabbed three boards.

Waverly, now 3-3, hosts Sayre Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. in the consolation game, while Athens squares off with Towanda Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in the championship tilt at Sayre High School.

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December 28, 2021 Tim Birney

ATHENS — Korey Miller drained a 3-pointer with 41 seconds remaining to give Athens the lead, and Xavier Watson added three points in the closing seconds to seal a 38-34 win Tuesday afternoon in the opening round of the junior varsity boys Valley Christmas Tournament.

Kolsen Keathley scored six points in the first quarter, while Watson scored four, and Miller canned a 3-pointer to help Athens to a 14-9 lead after the first eight points.

Bryce LaForest and Jake VanHouten knocked down 3-pointers in the opening stanza to keep Waverly close.

The second quarter was a low-scoring affair with a bucket by Jase Babcock and a free throw by Chris Mitchell the only points — giving Athens a 17-9 lead — for more than six minutes.

Late in the quarter, a technical foul on Athens sparked a 5-0 spurt by Waverly that closed the gap to 17-14 at the half.

Jake VanHouten scored eight points, including a pair of old-fashioned three-point plays, and LaForest added four points in a 14-8 third-quarter run that gave Waverly a 28-25 lead entering the final eight minutes.

With about 3 minutes remaining in the game, Matt Aquilio canned a 3-pointer to tie the game at 30-30.

With 2:08 remaining in the game, Jon Searles, off a nice feed from Nehemiah Anthony, put the Wolverines up 32-30, but a half-minute later Keathley answered with a baseline drive to tie the game at 32-32.

Waverly again beat Athens' half-court trap on its next possession, with LaForest finding Searles open in the paint for a short jumper and a 34-32 lead with 1:04 remaining.

Athens missed the front end of a one-and-one on its next possession, but Keathley rebounded the miss, and found Miller open beyond the arc for a go-ahead 3-pointer to make it 35-34.

After Waverly missed the front end of a one-and-one, Athens rebounded the miss, and Watson rebounded the miss.

Watson was fouled and made the front end of a one-and-one. He missed the second, but scooped up the loose ball in the lane, pumped faked, and scored off the glass with 10.5 seconds remaining to make it 38-34.

Watson had 10 points nine rebounds, and three steals, while Keathley had 10 points, four rebounds, three steals, and one blocked shot, and Miller added eight points and four steals.

Mitchell had five points, eight rebounds, and one blocked shot in the win, and Jack Cheresnowksy chipped in with four rebounds and four steals.

VanHouten led Waverly with 11 points and six rebounds, while  Searles had 10 points, four boards, and two blocked shots, LaForest added nine points and three steals, and Anthony dished out four assists.

Athens will now face Towanda Thursday at 2:30 p..m. in the championship game at Towanda, while Waverly will square off with Sayre at the same time at Athens in the consolation game.

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December 28, 2021 Tim Birney

WAVERLY — Waverly used a 19-1 first-half run to take control on its way to a 59-23 win over Athens here Tuesday night in the opening round of the annual girls Valley Christmas Basketball Tournament.

"We played pretty good — solid defense, high energy, and we executed offensively," said Waverly coach Bob Kelly. "We could finish a lot better, but the execution was there.

"Sometimes when the ball's not going in, there's one thing you can always do, and that's play defense — and we played pretty solid defense," noted Kelly. "When the girls are all firing on the same cylinder it's a good thing. We've been working on it, we continue to work on it, and they get better with it.

"They seem to be getting comfortable with it, and I like what I see," he added.

The Lady Wildcats were playing without their leading scorer, senior Caydence Macik, who recently netted her 1,000th career point.

"Caydence (Macik) is the centerpiece of our team," said Athens coach Brian Miller. "She's a 1,000-point scorer and has almost 600 rebounds.

"The thing people don't realize is she breaks the press for us a lot," noted Miller. "She flashes to the middle, handles the ball, and gets the ball to the right girl in the right area, so we can get into our offense. Not having her, we had girls in different spots they weren't use to.

"Unfortunately, we played a team that's known for pressing and trapping, and making you feel uncomfortable," added Miller. "At times we looked OK, but most of the time we looked a little nervous and uncomfortable … we weren't moving to the ball, or making good passes, but that's Waverly's style and it hurt us tonight."

Junior Karlee Barlow scored back-to-back buckets to give the Lady Wildcats a 7-4 lead with 1:59 remaining in the first quarter, but they wouldn't score again for nearly 7 1/2 minutes, and would only score three points the remainder of the first half.

Sophomore Peyton Shaw scored on a putback on the offensive glass with 1:52 remaining to pull Waverly within one point, at 9-8 and junior Kennedy Westbrook canned a 3-pointer with 1:10 remaining to give the Lady Wolverines the lead for good, 11-9.

Kennedy Westbrook knocked down a 15-foot jumper with 33 seconds remaining to give Waverly a 13-9 lead after the first eight minutes.

Kennedy Westbrook also scored on a driving lay-up and a pair of free throws early in the second quarter to up the lead to 17-9.

Shaw canned a 3-pointer, and Kennedy Westbrook capped the 16-0 run with a fast-break lay-up to make it 20-7 with 3:51 left in the first half.

Junior Natalee Watson's free throw snapped Athens' scoreless drought, but sophomore Paige Robinson knocked down a 3-pointer to make it 23-7 with 2:22 left in the first half.

Freshman Addy Wheeler scored on a runner with 1:45 left in the half for the Lady Wildcats' first field goal in more than eight minutes.

Kennedy Westbrook gave Waverly a 24-10 lead at the half with a free throw with 32 seconds remaining.

Waverly freshman Addison Westbrook and Athens junior Emma Bronson traded buckets early in the third quarter, but Waverly scored the next 15 points in a run ignited by consecutive 3-pointers by Kennedy Westbrook, senior Olivia NIttinger, and Addison Westbrook.

Karlee Bartlow scored five points in the final 89 seconds of the quarter, but the Lady Wildcats trailed 41-17 entering the final eight minutes.

Addison Westbrook scored nine points in the fourth quarter, and Kennedy Westbrook added five — both hit 3-pointers — as Waverly closed the game with an 18-6 run.

Kennedy Westbrook led all scorers with 20 points, including a trio of 3-pointers, while Addison Westbrook added 16 points and two 3-pointers, Nittinger scored 13 points, and Shaw chipped in with five points.

Karlee Bartlow led Athens with nine points and five rebounds, while Wheeler had five points, five rebounds, and two steals, sophomore Mya Thompson added four points and eight boards, Bronson had four rebounds, and one blocked shot, and Watson had two boards and two blocked shots.

Waverly, now 4-2, will take on Towanda Thursday at 6 p.m. at Sayre High School in the championship game, while Athens (3-2) squares off with Sayre (0-2) Wednesday at 6 p.m. in the consolation game at Waverly High School.

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December 23, 2021 Tim Birney

ENDICOTT — Union-Endicott took an early lead, and pulled away for a 69-49 win over Waverly here Thursday night in non-league boys basketball action.

"Costly turnovers at inopportune times, and defensive rebounding — giving them too many second- and third-chance points really hurt us," said Waverly coach Lou Judson.

"The things we talked about going into the game that we needed to do well ... we did at times, but we didn't sustain it.

"It was a 20-point game, but it was closer than that," added Judson. "We made a nice run and pulled within four with 2 minutes left in the third quarter, but every time we made a run, (U-E) would counter, and we'd do something that allowed them to make an 8- or 10-0 run."

The Tigers used a balanced scoring attack in the first quarter, with six different players putting their names in the scoring column in taking an 18-11 lead after the first eight minutes.

It was more of the same in the second quarter as seven U-E players scored, but Waverly sophomore Joey Tomasso, who had seven points in the first quarter, tossed in 10 points, including a 3-pointer, to keep the Wolverines within 10 points, at 37-27, at the half.

The Tigers kept rolling offensively in the third quarter, outscoring Waverly, 18-13, to stretch their advantage to 55-40, entering the final eight minutes.

"U-E is 4-0," said Judson. "They've beaten some good teams — they are good.

"I don't think we'll see another team as good as them on our schedule," he added. "This game is only going to help us as we move forward in the league, and in postseason play; that's why I schedule this game."

Tomasso led Waverly with 24 points and four rebounds, while Liam Traub had 12 points, including a trio of 3-pointers, four rebounds, and two blocked shots, and senior Brady Blauvelt added six points and five boards.

Sophomore Jake Benjamin chipped in with four points for the Wolverines, while seniors Brennan Traub and Davis Croft each had four rebounds, and junior Isaiah Bretz dished out three assists.

Nicholas Lang led U-E with 16 points and Micah Lindley added 13 points.

Waverly, now 3-2, returns to action Tuesday when it hosts Athens in the opening round of the Valley Christmas Tournament.

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December 21, 2021 Brian Fees

HORSEHEADS — A 5-0 Waverly run to start the fourth quarter and suddenly the Blue Raiders saw their lead cut to a single point.

The momentum was on the Wolverines' side and the game hung in balance. Just seconds later, Sophia Bonnell pulled up for a straight-away three and the lead was back to four and Horseheads never looked back, beating the Wolverines 60-47.

"It was definitely a big shot in the game," Bonnell said. "And, it was a good pass by everybody to get me open."

All night long Bonnell, Carly Scott and the Blue Raiders were making big shots from the perimeter and that proved to be the difference as Horseheads hit 15 threes in the win.

"Fifteen threes," Waverly coach Bob Kelly said. "Which means their offense is out front 20 plus feet away from the basket. Says a lot about our defense, I believe. Says a lot about their offense when they connect on them. I don't know if that's a consistent thing, but it certainly went in for them tonight."

Bonnell hit a career-high eight threes in the game, and scored a career-high 24 points, and Scott hit six threes and had 20 points in the win.

"We were hyping each other up as we ran down the court," Scott said of the way the two fed off each other."

For Horseheads coach Andy Scott, he saw an opportunity for looks if Bonnell could knock them down.

"We watched the film from last year against Waverly and we said they give up a lot of opportunities from the top-of-the-key, because they are really focused on taking away the wings," Scott said. "When you have a kid that can knock it down like that left and right, you have a 1-2 punch and we have some other kids that can knock it down on the other wing. At the end of the day, we are just getting better as a whole team, so it's great."

Bonnell hit another big three in the fourth to push the lead to seven and Scott followed with a three that helped close out the win.

"At one point my Dad was like 'that's going to help us' on the sideline," Carly Scott said. "It felt really good to hit that shot to get that little push to keep us ahead in the second half of the game."

It was a career day for Bonnell, who is a sophomore.

"That was definitely the most points I've had in a game," Bonnell said.

In every quarter of the game both girls hit threes. They combined for at least three baskets from long-range in each quarter. Bonnell had three threes in the second quarter and two each in the third and fourth, after one in the opening quarter. Scott had two threes in the first and third quarters and threes in the second and fourth quarters, adding another basket in the fourth.

"With both of us hot it's hard to stop us," Scott said. "I'm proud of Soph. I'm proud of our team. We put in a lot of effort today. A lot of preparation before the game and it really paid off with the W here."

While the guards were hitting big threes, the post players were doing a good job on the boards.

"We wouldn't be hitting our shots if it wasn't four our team setting good screens, so we have to give kudos to them," Carly Scott said. "They did a really good job on the boards today. They got the boards and kicked it out and we hit those big shots."

"I told the kids we don't hit those threes today without the forwards getting rebounds and kicking it out and getting those looks," Andy Scott said. "A lot of their teammates are doing a lot of work for them."

Kelly thought his team did a good job getting the rebounds and loose balls in the first half, but they were hurt by it in the second half.

"I think in the first half we were getting to the 50/50 balls, maybe we got a little tired," Kelly said. "We are a little thin, a little injured, maybe we got a little tired in the second half and they were getting to those 50/50 balls that we were getting in the first half and yeah, that hurt."

Horseheads led 31-23 at the half after Bonnell made a half-court shot to end the half.

"That was really exciting," Bonnell said. "My heart rate went up."

"You had no idea it went in," Carly Scott added.

"No, I had no idea it went in and I turned around and everyone was on me," Bonnell said.

Addison Westbrook had 17 points to lead Waverly and Kennedy Westbrook finished with 12 points, scoring seven in the third quarter, including 5-for-7 shooting from the foul line. Eight of Kennedy's points came from the free-throw line, where she was 8-for-12.

It was a 15-14 Waverly lead after one quarter, but Horseheads outscored the Wolverines 17-8 in the second quarter.

Olivia Nittinger had nine points for Waverly and Lourden Benjamin had four points, while Ashlen Croft had three points and Peyton Shaw finished with two points.

Despite the loss, the Wolverines know how important it is to play bigger schools like Horseheads.

"You don't get better by going out and playing inferior opponents," Kelly said. "You get better by playing teams that go after it and we are just trying to make ourselves better."

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December 20, 2021 Tim Birney

WAVERLY — Waverly registered five falls, including four first-period falls, and received four forfeits in a 54-16 win over Northeast Bradford here Monday night in non-league wrestling action.

With NEB up 6-0 after a forfeit at 110 pounds (there was no match at 102), junior Landon McCarty tied up the match at 6-6 with a 40-second fall over Gavin Tuttle at 118 pounds, and freshman Jake Besecker followed it up at 126, with a pin of Brock Fenton in 4:58 to give the Wolverines the lead for good, at 12-6.

At 132 pounds, NEB's Tyler Russell forged an 8-0 major decision over freshman Seth Noto to trim the deficit to 12-10, but the Wolverines won the next seven weight classes.

Junior Conner Stotler started the string of victories with a 41-second fall at 138 pounds, and junior Mason Ham needed just 53 seconds at 145 pounds, extending Waverly's lead to 24-10.

After forfeits at 152, 160, and 172 extended the lead to 42-10, senior Austin Kimble registered the quickest fall of the night at 189 pounds, depositing his opponent on his back in 25 seconds to make it 48-10.

Junior Ty Beeman received a forfeit at 215 pounds for Waverly's final points of the match, and NEB's Kamden Ricci finished the night with a 56-second fall at 285 pounds.

Waverly, now 4-5, returns to action after Christmas at the Windsor Christmas Tournament.




102: No Match;
110: Kolton Keir (N) by forfeit;
118: Landon McCarty (W) by fall over Gavin Tuttle (N), 0:40);
126: Jake Besecker (W) by fall over Brock Fenton (N), 4:58;
132: Tyler Russell (N) major dec. Seth Noto (W), 8-0;
138: Connor Stotler (W) by fall over Nathan Billings (N), 0:41;
145: Mason Ham (W) by fall over Lucas Lambert (N), 0:53;
152: Dustyn Gingerich (W) by forfeit;
160: Braeden Nichols (W) by forfeit;
172: Braeden Hills (W) by forfeit;
189: Andrew Kimble (W) by fall over Dominic Clark (N), 0:25;
215: Ty Beeman (W) by forfeit;
285: Kamden Ricci (N) by fall over Anthony Speer (W), 0:56.

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December 18, 2021 Tim Birney

CORTLAND — Junior Kelsey Ward and 8th-grader Haylie Davenport were double-winners to pace Waverly’s efforts Saturday morning at the Section IV 607 Indoor Track & Field Invitation here at SUNY Cortland.

The Lady Wolverines won three events, and had two other top-three finishes Saturday, with freshman Harper Minaker contributing three top-three finishes.

Davenport won the 1,500-meter race walk in a time of 10:35.17, and 8th-grader Emma Vanderhoof was second in 10:50.54.

Ward won the 600-meter run in a time of 1:54.99.

Davenport and Ward teamed with Minaker, and junior Natalie Garrity to win the 1,600-meter sprint medley relay in a time of 5:02.54.

Minaker finished second in the 1,000-meter run in a time of 3:38.02, and 7th-grader Lauren Gorsline was fourth in 3:43.13.

The foursome of Minaker, sophomore Alli Barrett, Gorsline, and freshman Kendal Shaffer finished third in the 800-meter relay in a time of 2:09.35.

Gorsline finished fourth in the 1,500-meter run in a time of 5:51.32, and junior Josie VanDyke was seventh in 6:31.89.

Eighth-grader Mira Kittle finished fifth in the 55-meter hurdles in a time of 10.89 seconds

Garrity finished seventh in the long jump with a leap of 12-feet, 9-inches, and Ward was 11th at 11-feet, 5-inches. Garrity also finished seventh in the 55-meter dash in 8.46 seconds, and Barrett was ninth in 8.55 seconds.

Shaffer finished eighth in the 300-meter dash in a time of 53.3 seconds, and Kittle was ninth in 54.33 seconds.

VanDyke finished 10th in the triple jump with a hop, skip, and jump of 21-feet, 5-inches, and 8th-grader Teigan Allen finished 13th in the shot put at 16-feet, 1-inch.

The Waverly boys had five top-four finishes on the day, with senior SamVanDyke contributing three top-three placements, and sophomore Micah Chandler finishing in the top-four three times.

VanDyke finished second in the 600-meter run in a  time of 1:37.7. He also finished second in the high jump, clearing the bar at 5-feet, 4-inches.

Chandler placed second in the 55-meter hurdles in a time of 10.03 seconds.

VanDyke and Chandler teamed with senior Gavin Schillmoeller, and freshman Ethan Gorsline to finish third in the 1,600-meter sprint medley relay in a time of 4:24.82.

Chandler finished fourth in the long jump at 15-feet, 11-inches.

Schillmoeller finished sixth in the 1,000-meter run in 3:25.71

Senior Hunter Elston was ninth in the shot put at 28-feet, 4-inches.

Junior John Price finished ninth in the 55-meter dash in 7.82 seconds, and Gorsline was 10th in 8.04 seconds. Price finished 11th in the 300-meter dash in 44.55 seconds.

Waverly returns to action Dec. 29 at the Quinney Invitational at SUNY Cortland.

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December 17, 2021 Tim Birney

WAVERLY — Waverly picked up forfeits in the final three weight classes to rally for a 40-30 win over SVEC here Friday nigh in IAC wrestling action.

"We were down three starters — Nico Rae, Austin Ingham, and Gage Tedesco — so our remaining starters had to pull together," said Waverly coach Devan Witman, who watched the live stream of the match from home due to an illness.

"The two matches that stick out are Landon McCarty, who was down four, getting the fall against a tough Kaleb Smith," noted Witman.

"And, Jake Besecker getting the major over (Taya) Beach, who he had lost to over the weekend," added Witman.

The teams traded pin falls in the early going, and the two teams ended up splitting the eight weight classes contested on the mat.

Tyler Knickerbocker gave the Eagles a 6-0 lead with a first-period pin at 160 pounds, but Waverly junior Braeden Hills answered with a pin in 1:49 at 172 pounds to tie the match at 6-6.

SVEC standout Devin Beach scored a first-period fall at 189 pounds, but 8th-grader Troy Beeman tied the match at 12-12 with a pin in 2:22 at 215 pounds.

At 285 pounds, Waverly junior Ty Beeman scored the initial takedown, but John Hammond countered and scored the fall at 3:39 to give SVEC an 18-12 lead.

"Ty (Beeman) took a tough loss when he was up 2-0," said Witman. "I don't think Ty loses to him again."

There was no match at 102, and SVEC's Caden Ruben received a forfeit at 110 pounds to give the Eagles a 24-12 lead.

McCarty, a junior, started the Wolverines' comeback with a pin of Smith in 1:35 at 118 pounds, and Besecker, at 126, forged a 12-1 major decision win over Taya Beach to trim the deficit to 24-22.

SVEC's Shane Neal extended the Eagles' lead to 30-22 with a second-period fall at 132 pounds, but Waverly juniors Connor Stotler (138), and Mason Ham (145), and freshman Dustyn Gingerich (152) received forfeits to close out the match.

Waverly returns to action Wednesday at the Athens Duals.




160: Tyler Knickerbocker (SVEC) by fall over Braeden Nichols (W), 1:50;
172: Braeden Hills (W) by fall over John Johnston III (SVEC), 1:49;
189: Devin Beach (SVEC) by fall over Andrew Kimble (W), 1:13;
215: Troy Beeman (W) by fall over Ezekiel Foster (SVEC), 2:22;
285: John Hammond Jr (SVEC) by fall over Ty Beeman (W), 3:39;
102: No match;
110: Caden Ruben (SVEC) by forfeit;
118: Landon McCarty (W) by fall over Kaleb Smith (SVEC), 1:35;
126: Jake Besecker (W) major dec. Tayah Beach (SVEC), 12-1;
132: Shane Neal (SVEC) by fall over Seth Noto (W), 2:32;
138: Connor Stotler (W) by forfeit;
145: Mason Ham (W) by forfeit;
152: Dustyn Gingerich (W) by forfeit;

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December 17, 2021 Tim Birney

ITHACA — Sophomore Zach Vanderpool banged out a 600 series to lead the Waverly boys to a sweep of Lansing here Thursday afternoon in IAC bowling action, while the Lady Wolverines posted a sweep of the short-handed Lady Bobcats.

Waverly 4, Lansing 0

Vanderpool rolled a 655 on games of 237, 175, and 243 to lead the Wolverines in a sweep.

Waverly won the first game 1,031-847, then followed it up with wins of 888-797 and 907-848 for a total-pinfall victory of 2,826 to 2,492.

Sophomore Trenton Sindoni added a 536 series for the Wolverines, while junior Ashton Pritchard shot a 519, including a 206 in the first game, senior Cody Blackwell had a 507, freshman Dom Wood had a 506, including a 223 in the second game, and 8th-grader Tristan Campbell chipped in with a 466, including a 213 in the first game.

Hunter Hamilton led Lansing with a 569 series.

Waverly 4, Lansing 0

Sophomore Rachel Houseknecht led Waverly to a sweep of Lansing, which had just three bowlers.

Rachel Houseknecht shot a 558 to pace the Lady Wolverines, while junior Shantilly Decker had a 505, junior Victoris Houseknecht had a 468, freshman Serenity Decker added a 462, and senior Sage Garrison tacked on a 421.

Kara Armstrong led Lansing with a 461.

Waverly is off until the New Year.


IN PHOTO: Waverly’s Zach Vanderpool.

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