WAVERLY — Waverly sophomore Preston Harms might just be the most unselfish three-point shooter in all of Class B.
Harms made a pair of three-point shots in the first quarter, but it took urging from teammates and coaches alike to get him shooting again in the fourth quarter. Harms made a pair of three-point shots in the fourth quarter as his team-high 14 points led Class B No. 5 Waverly to a 42-30 win over Bishop Neumann on Thursday night.
“There’s times that we have to yell at Preston to shoot, because he’s just a sophomore trying to learn his role on the team,” Waverly head coach Ryan Reeder said.
Harms made an instant impact in the first quarter when he and sophomore AJ Heffelfinger combined for a trio of three-pointers in the game’s opening minutes. Waverly (12-2) secured an impressive 16-2 lead off the back of the fast start, but Bishop Neumann (6-11) countered with a run of its own.
Bishop Neumann held Waverly scoreless for over five minutes as part of an 8-0 run, but the Cavaliers’ newfound offensive success didn’t last forever. The Vikings’ 2-3 zone defense was uninspiring in the first half, and Reeder let his team know just that during the halftime break.
“I thought we played a little scared and we didn’t have any energy (in the first half),” Reeder said. “It was almost disheartening for our seniors to come out flat, so I called them out on it, and they responded really well.”
Waverly allowed just one point in the first four minutes of the third quarter and its lead soon grew to 29-15. However, a late offensive surge from Bishop Neumann senior Kolten Cada got the Cavaliers back in the game. He scored 11 of his game-high 15 points in the second half as his trio of fourth-quarter three-pointers trimmed Waverly’s advantage.
That meant it was time for Harms to take over. Waverly led 30-21 when a key offensive rebound and kick-out pass from junior Hogan Wingrove led to Harms’ three-pointer and a 12-point advantage that Bishop Neumann could not overcome.
Bishop Neumann’s 30 points were the fewest it had scored all season as the Cavaliers shot 10-for-44 (22.7%) from the field. In addition to Harms’ 14 points, junior Cole Murray added eight and senior Andrew Heffelfinger chipped in five more for Waverly. The Vikings were far under their 52.5 points-per-game average as they shot 14-for-33 (42.4%), but simply walking away with a win gave Reeder plenty to smile about.
“In February everyone knows who you are, so we always say that an ugly win is better than a pretty loss in February,” he said.
Waverly returned to the floor less than 24 hours later against a scrappy Aurora Husky team.