Tuesday’s senior night at Waterloo High School was made more special, as the boys basketball team captured its first conference title since 1981 and its first ever Mississippi Valley Conference title ever.
The team proudly posed after the game with a sign that read “The wait is over,” showing the significance of the MVC milestone for the program, after defeating Jerseyville in a tense see-saw game that was not decided until the final seconds.
The Panthers jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead but the Dogs would battle back to take a 13-10 lead at the end of the first period.
The second period was not a good one for either team. The first points were not scored until the 5:12 mark and Waterloo would manage only 2-points and Jerseyville put up a mere 7 to take a 17-15 lead into the locker room at the half.Shane Lenhardt scores two points against Jerseyville at Tuesday night’s game.
The ‘Dogs looked like a different team after the break matching their first half total in the third period that ended with them going on a 7-to-0 run to take the lead, 30-25, heading into the final period.
“Lenhardt had a nice first quarter for us and then we kind of got away from that in the second period so we needed to get back to that in the second half and we did just enough of that,” said Coach C.J. Cruser after his team’s big win.
Jerseyville made things interesting in the final period coming back from being down by 7 to make it a 2-point game with 34.8 seconds to go, but the WHS would hold on to take the win and the conference title, 45-39.
“Up by seven late, we got a little bit back on our heels. Lost ourselves in transition after a missed free-throw and gave up a couple of big three’s and now its real close,” recalled Cruser of the end of the game. “But they persevered like they have all season. I couldn’t ask for anymore tonight than what they gave me.”
WHS will travel to Civic Memorial for their last regular season game Friday.
Be sure to pick up this week’s edition of the Republic-Times newspaper for your high school boys basketball round-up.
To view and purchase photos from this boys basketball season, click here.