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Valley Sports Report
TIOGA CENTER "” Tioga had four scorers in double-figures, and dominated on the boards to post a 63-52 win over Waverly here Friday night in IAC South girls basketball action.

The win was Tioga's first over Waverly since January of 2011.

"This is a very big win for this team, and for the program," said longtime Tioga coach Joe Robinson. "We don't get a chance to beat Waverly very often.

 "I hope it's a confidence booster for them to continue playing like this," he added.

Waverly coach Bob Kelly offered no excuses after the Lady Wolverines' second loss of the season.

"We couldn't put the ball in the ocean, and (Tioga) put everything in.

"Tioga outplayed us, they out-hustled us, they out-rebounded us, and they outshot us," said Kelly. "Game over."

Robinson was pleased with his team's performance, especially on the boards, where it held nearly a 2-to-1 advantage.

"I don't think we could play much better.

"We started out good," said Robinson. "Liv (Ayres) came out and hit three 3-pointers right out of the gate to give us an eight-point lead.

"We stayed aggressive. My girls aren't afraid to shoot it, and today they happened to fall."

"We did a good job on the boards," he noted. "Waverly got in a little foul trouble, so their big girls weren't in there; that helped in our favor again.

"Waverly didn't shoot well to start the game, so getting the boards was big," added Robinson. "It kept them from getting second and third shots."

Ayres' trio of 3-pointers helped the Lady Tigers to a 12-4 lead midway through the first quarter. They led 16-10 after the first eight minutes.

Junior Eve Wood scored seven points in the second quarter, and senior Giovanna Rossi added six points, but Waverly junior Sidney Tomasso pumped in 10 points as the Lady Wolverines battled back to tie the game at 22-22, and again at 29-29.

A 15-foot baseline jumper by Rossi with 10 seconds remaining in the second quarter sent the Lady Tigers into the halftime locker room with a 31-29 lead.

Ayres knocked down her fourth 3-pointer and a driving lay-up, and sophomore Julia Bellis added a pair of buckets, one as part of an old-fashioned three-point play, in a quick 11-3 spurt that gave the Lady Tigers a 42-32 lead with 5:54 remaining in third quarter.

A 3-pointer by freshman Kennedy Westbrook, and a runner in the lane by Tomasso quickly trimmed the deficit to five point, at 42-37, but Rossi scored on an offensive putback to push the lead back to seven.

Senior Gianna Picco canned a 3-pointer late in the quarter to cut the Tioga lead to four, at 44-40. Tioga led 46-42 heading into the final eight minutes.

Chloe Bellis took over in the fourth quarter, scoring eight points as the Lady Tigers maintained a lead of five to nine points for the majority of the stanza.

Bellis, Wood, and Ayres each went 2-for-2 from the free-throw line in the final minute to cement the win.

Robinson said one of the keys in the win was his team's ability to handle Waverly's pressure defense.

"We had a couple lapses where we turned the ball over too close to their basket for their easy shots, but overall we did a decent job against their pressure."

Kelly said his team's defense is not where it needs to be.

"We didn't create nearly enough easy buckets," said Kelly. "At times our rotation in our pressure wasn't great. It needs work.

"They were making passes we want to see take place, but we're not getting there," Kelly added. "We have to do a better job."

Ayres led Tioga with 18 points, including four 3-pointers, four rebounds, and one blocked shot, while Rossi had 12 points and 12 rebounds, and Wood had 12 points, 10 rebounds, and one blocked shot.

Chloe Bellis had 11 points, five rebounds, and three assists in the win, while Julia Bellis added seven points, 11 rebounds, and six assists, and junior Ari Manwaring hauled down five rebounds.

"Two games in a row, Julia Bellis has played her butt off," said Robinson. "She's not real tall, but she's scrappy."

Tomasso scored 17 points, and Westbrook had 16 to lead Waverly, and seniors Morgan Adams and Paige Lewis added seven points apiece.

Tioga, now 3-2, returns to action Thursday against Bainbridge-Guilford in the opening round of the Kazalski Tournament at B-G, while Waverly, now 3-2, hosts Towanda Friday in the opening round of the Valley Christmas Tournament.


IN PHOTO 1: Tioga's Chloe Bellis. ... PHOTOS BY TIM BIRNEY.

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