Waverly is looking to head into the Class A state tournament with a head of steam.
It took another step toward doing that Tuesday, posting a 58-46 victory over Okemos to stretch their winning streak to nine.
Mike Fomby celebrated his last regular-season home game for Waverly by scoring 26 points to lead all scorers in a possible preview of a district final in 10 days.
Edward Smith had a team-high 15 points for the Chieftains (11-9), who jumped out to an early lead, lost it, and then made a spirited fourth-quarter comeback bid before finally falling in a game with one lead change.
Waverly coach Craig Fields said he wasn’t holding anything back in anticipation of a postseason rematch.
“I just want to win,” Fields said. “Some teams may not want to show some things, I’m sure they have film on us, but we’re not hiding stuff. We just wanted to execute, play defense and keep them off the glass, to do the things that we need to do to be a successful team. For the most part, we did that.”
Conner George got Okemos off to a strong start, hitting two 3s in the first three minutes of the contest to help stake his team to an early 8-3 lead, and the Chiefs led 16-10 at the end of the first quarter.
Fields said his team was a bit distracted early on their Senior Night.
“It was just a different kind of day,” Fields said. “Different starters, a lot of excitement, but once we settled down, I think we played our game and did pretty well.”
Waverly (15-3) opened the second quarter on a 10-0 run and never trailed again.
“We were just a step slow, and against these guys, you can’t be a step slow because they’re so fast,” Okemos coach Jeff Wonch said. “They were getting to the basket, and that’s sort of what got us into foul trouble.
“If we meet up with those guys again, I think we can give them a better game.”
Manny Kirkland hit one of Waverly’s six 3-pointers to open up their biggest lead of the game, 48-34 with 5:06 left in the fourth. But Darius Morris answered with a 3 eight seconds later to start a 9-2 Okemos run.
Soham Mishra’s 3 cut the Waverly lead to six points with 2:40 left, but that would be the Chieftains’ last field goal of the contest.
With one regular-season game left against another possible district final opponent – East Lansing – Fields said he was pleased his team has remained focused after wrapping up their fifth consecutive league title.
“We’ve had years when we went right into the tank after winning a league championship, and that’s what we’ve been stressing for the last two or three years,” he said. “The season is not over, we’ve got bigger goals.”