DEWITT – Jazlynn Wilcox knows the early season results have featured some highs and lows for the Waverly girls basketball team.
But the junior guard hopes mixed results are a thing of the past for a Warrior team that has spent the season’s early stages working in several new contributors.
Wilcox and Waverly got a glimpse of their potential and took a big step forward with Friday’s 55-47 road victory over previously unbeaten DeWitt. And the Warriors hope they can build on that performance as they chase a league title and more this winter.
“This is definitely what I’ve been talking about (with our capabilities),” Penn State signee Alisia Smith said following Friday’s victory. “We just have to move on from here and go on to a great season.”
Malin Smith and Tazjah Pruitt each had nine points for the Warriors, and Alisia Smith added eight points and seven rebounds.
Second-year Waverly coach John Schweitzer has made no secret about his desire to turn the Warriors into a strong program like the one coach Bill McCullen has at DeWitt. And nights like Friday and even last March when the Warriors upended DeWitt in the state tournament are important steps for his program.
But Schweitzer also knows his team finding itself in a strong early position in the CAAC Red with victories over two of the three teams (DeWitt and St. Johns) that shared the league title last season means nothing if the Warriors (5-3, 2-0) don’t stay focused.
And Wilcox, who Schweitzer described as Waverly’s emotional leader, echoed those thoughts in the moments following the big league victory.
“Right now we’re just taking it game by game and practice by practice,” Wilcox said. “That’s all you really can do. You don’t want to look too far into the future because that’s just going to throw you off. You just have to go practice by practice and practice your hardest and go out and perform on game day.
“Being 2-0 in the conference is a amazing. Just because we’re 2-0 in the conference doesn’t mean that we’re the best team in the area. We still have to go and practice.”
Schweitzer believes Friday’s win was a strong sign his team, which features Everett transfers Tazjah Pruitt and Ciara Willheart and East Lansing transfer Evelyn Taylor, is starting to see its new pieces and returning talent come together on the court.
“We’ve got a lot of new faces, and we’re coming together, and we’re trying to mesh,” Schweitzer said. “I think you saw a big step forward (Friday) as far as that was concerned. Players are starting to play their roles and figure out what we want out of them on a night-to-night basis.”
But the Warriors still see room for improvement as they strive to be at their best in late February.
Schweitzer sees the potential for great things from his team but isn’t focused on specific end goals.
“We can be good,” Schweitzer said. “We just want to have a good season. We’re not talking about a real end goal right now. We just want to be playing our best basketball come end of February and early March. I think that we can make some noise.”
And Friday’s win could go a long way toward Waverly making some noise come March.
Contact Brian Calloway at bcalloway@lsj,com. Follow him on Twitter @brian_calloway.