Allie Wagner scored 18 points in Wren’s 53-34 victory over Berea in the second round of the Class AAA girls basketball playoffs Thursday night.
Yet it’s Wagner’s presence on defense that stands out, specifically the 6-foot post player’s role at the top of the Hurricanes’ 1-3-1 zone.
“You can’t simulate in practice what Allie can do at the top of that zone,” Wren coach Lynn Hicks said. “Unless you bring guys in there, you can’t simulate that.”
So Berea brought guys into practice.
“We got some coaches that are pretty tall and simulated as much as we could,” Bulldogs coach Jennifer Looper said. “We just didn’t execute like we needed to.”
Berea didn’t score until the 2:16 mark of the first quarter, but the Bulldogs trailed only 7-3 at that point. And they hung around through the first half, which ended with Wren ahead 22-15.
“They’re just such athletes,” Hicks said. “They are just athlete upon athlete. I don’t guess we’ve faced that kind of athlete since Christmas. Daniel obviously has that kind of athlete, but they don’t have that kind of size.”
The third quarter, however, belonged to the Hurricanes (23-3). They went on a 13-0 run, during which Wagner scored seven straight points.
“I feel like we just got on a roll,” the all-state junior said.
“We were trying to score off one pass or two passes (in the first half),” Hicks said. “They were in a little bit of foul trouble with their key players. ‘Make them have to play. Make them defend you for three or four passes.’ We were patient enough to do that (in the second half).’ “
With Wagner dominating inside and senior point guard Addie Merritt, who scored 10 points, directing the attack, Wren pulled away and headed to the third round.
The Hurricanes will host defending state champion Dreher at 7 p.m. Monday.
Tamara Bembery scored 10 points to lead Berea (16-7), which was the co-champion of the Peach Blossom AAA Region.
“We had a really good season,” Looper said. “These seniors were with us from JV on. They gave us a good foundation for us to build on this summer and get back to where we need to be.”