In a game that lived up to the billing, the Waverly Tigers used a big second half to complete a double-digit 65-54 comeback victory over the Valley Indians Tuesday night.

With the win the Tigers are now tied with the Indians at the top of the SOC II standings with one league loss each.

Valley started strong, taking 11-4 lead midway through the first quarter. The Tigers then cut that lead down to three, 11–8, before the Indians used a 10-0 run to take a 21-8 lead with 46.3 to go in the first quarter. Braylon Robertson then connected on a triple with time winding down in the quarter to cut the lead to 21-11 after the opening frame.

Valley continued their hot shooting as they began the second quarter on a 8-2 run, taking their largest lead of the game 29-13. The Tigers then used a 5-0 run to cut the lead down to 29-18 with 2:55 left in the half before they cut it to single digits 29-20. Waverly’s defense held the Indians scoreless for over four minutes, but Valley went back up double digits, 31-20, at the half when Tucker Merritt scored as time expired.

“Disappointed in the first half as far as we talked about doing, we got beat in transition and gave up easy shots and forced some shots. It felt like we panicked,” said Waverly coach Travis Robertson. “Being down 11 at half and going into half the way we played, it felt like we were down more. But we decided to get back defensively and play in the half court, and get up in them and continue to pressure the basketball and make things difficult for them in the half court.

“We went inside to Will (Futhey), and he was able to score at the rim. They had to come out and guard us, and we spread it out. Trey (Robertson) was able to get into creases and hand out some layups to people. I think if you look at our percentages the first half we shot horrible and the second half we shot pretty well.”

With 2:33 to go in the third quarter, Will Futhey scored to cut the Indian lead to 41-34. The Tigers then cut the lead to 41-38 with just seconds to go in the third. Hudson Kelly then collected an offensive rebound and put it back at the buzzer as the Tigers got within a point of shifting the momentum.

“I think the expectations I have of him (Kelly) were a little different than what he thought. I believe in the kid and think he (Kelly) can get some things done for us. The problem is I don’t think he’s real confident in himself sometimes, and we wanted to reassure him, ‘You’re out here for a reason and we know you can do some things. You just need to go out and do it. Don’t worry about making mistakes or messing up,’” mentioned Robertson about Hudson Kelly’s 10- point performance.

Waverly took a brief 42-41 lead to start the fourth quarter. Valley then scored to make it 43-42. The Tigers then scored on the next possession taking a 44-43 lead with 6:05 to play in the game. Kelly and Trey Robertson scored on back-to-back possessions with 3:11 to go in the game as Waverly took a 54-47 lead. Waverly then took a 56-48 lead with 1:46 left in the game. Waverly would then seal the win at the free throw line as they completed the comeback to defeat the Indians 65-54.

“That second half is because we played Upper Arlington, Newark and Hurricane, West Virginia. Those three games, being in battles and being tested, even though we came up short on a couple of them, prepared us for nights like tonight. They’re ( Valley’s) skilled and will beat a lot of teams. There’s a reason they’re ranked fourth in the state in Division IV. They have a chance to do some nice things this year.”

Statistically, Trey Robertson led the Tigers with 26 points, three rebounds and six assists. Will Futhey scored 19 points along with eight rebounds, while Hudson Kelly scored 10 points and had four rebounds. Mark Stulley scored four points and Braylon Robertson scored three.

The Indians were led by Bryce Stuart with 22 points. George Arnett scored 15 points, while Jace Copley scored eight.

The Tigers get back into action Friday night as they host Wheelersburg.

“(Wheelersburg coach Steven) Ater does a nice job. He’ll have a good game plan and try to slow us down. It worked early down there at Wheelersburg. We just have to make sure we get back up. We have a big game Friday, and we’ll enjoy this one tonight, and wake back up tomorrow and get ready for Wheelersburg.”

WHS — 11 9 20 25 — 65

VHS — 21 10 10 13 — 54

WAVERLY (65) — Mark Stulley 2 0 0-0 4, Hudson Kelly 5 0 0-0 10, Trey Robertson 5 2 10-13 26, Wade Futhey 0 1 0-0 3, Braylon Robertson 0 1 0-0 3, Will Futhey 7 0 5-10 19, Penn Morrison 0 0 0-0 0, Drake Teeters 0 0 0-0 0, Jamison Morton 0 0 0-0 0, Tanner Nichols 0 0 0-0 0, Ben Nichols 0 0 0-0 0, TOTALS 19 4 15-26 65.

VALLEY (54) — George Arnett 5 1 2-2 15, Hunter Edwards 0 0 0-0 0, Colt Buckle 3 0 1-2 7, Jace Copley 4 0 0-0 8, Tucker Merritt 1 0 0-0 2, Bryce Stuart 5 2 6-7 22, TOTALS18 3 9-11 54.

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