Waterloo picked a poor time to turn in its worst offensive effort of the season.
The Bulldogs mustered only one field in the second half and shot just 12 percent (5-for-43) from the field for the game during a 37-19 loss to Benton in the Class 3A Championship Game at Columbia Friday night.
“I thought we played good defense all night, 37 points is where we want our opponents to be,” Waterloo coach Matt Lucash said. “Unfortunately we just didn’t take the lid off the basket. We missed a lot of shots tonight that we made Wednesday night. Credit Benton’s defense, but we missed a lot of shots we should make.”
Waterloo’s Sydney Luedeman hit a long jumper from the right wing at the 6:40 mark of the second quarter to put the Bulldogs ahead 12-11.
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Luedeman would also score Waterloo’s next basket which, unfortunately for the Bulldogs, would come at the 5:30 mark of the fourth quarter. Despite going more than 17 minutes without a basket, Waterloo only trailed 29-18 at that point.
Luedeman’s fourth-quarter hoop, however, was the Bulldogs’ lone basket of the second half as Waterloo was 1-for-20 shooting in the final two quarters.
“We rely on our defense pretty heavily to keep us in ball games,” Benton coach Andy Sloan said. “I thought that every time they missed a shot we were able to get the rebound or get the loose ball and we knew coming in tonight that we were going to have to do that to give ourselves a chance to win.”
The Rangerettes were able to limit Waterloo to one shot on most possessions, especially in the second half where Benton owned a 20-10 rebounding advantage.
Ally Gischer led all scorers with 15 for Benton, as Taylor Mosely and Makala Abney added nine points apiece. Luedeman led Waterloo (12-14) with 10 points.
Benton (28-3) earned the chance to play at home for the sectional where they will take on Civic Memorial Monday night. Highland will battle Carbondale in the other semifinal.
“It’s going to be nice to get our seniors back home, that’s been a goal of ours,” said Sloan. “I don’t know if Civic Memorial does anything poorly. They are a very good basketball team, it’s going to be a huge challenge for us Monday night.”