WATERLOO — The Waterloo girls basketball team is in the midst of another Finger Lakes East title chase.
The Indians were able to keep themselves in the running for that crown and saw one of their biggest stars finish an individual chase of her own during a 51-46 victory over Finger Lakes East foe Geneva in the C. Jerry Robinson “Blow the Whistle on Cancer” Classic Saturday evening.
Waterloo senior Lauren Deming reached the 1,000-point plateau early in the contest. The Indians saw a small advantage erased, but managed to build the lead back up with a pair of steals and baskets.
“We knew it was going to be this type of game,” Waterloo coach Michael Bree said. “I thought we just did enough to pull it out. This group, whether they are playing well or not, always seems to come together towards the end.”
Deming led the Indians (12-3, 10-1) with 18 points while Lindsay Johnson dumped in 12.
Mia Morrison netted 20 points and grabbed 15 rebounds for the Panthers (10-5, 8-3). Erin Guinan finished with 11 boards and four assists.
Trailing by six to begin the fourth, Geneva pulled within three on Morrison’s traditional 3-point play. Carmen Sapp sliced the deficit to one on a basket with 4:20 to go and Eliza Maher tied the game on a foul shot.
Johnson answered with a steal and a basket. Deming then matched her teammate with a steal and basket of her own to put the Indians ahead by four.
Morrison threw in a basket but Waterloo’s Whitney Conkey hoisted a 3-pointer that rattled off the rim and through the net for a five-point edge with 1:45 to go.
Waterloo kept its lead the rest of the way.
“Give Waterloo the credit for the win,” Geneva coach Ed Collins remarked. “They made the shots and knocked down free throws when they had to. I don’t think they did anything defensively that we weren’t ready for.
“We did not take care of the ball at the end of the game. We worked so hard to get the game tied and kind of gave two possessions away in a row. That allowed momentum to flip again.”
Deming hit her milestone with four straight points in the first, the final two coming on a fast-break lay-up with 1:44 left in the first quarter to reach the 1,000-point milestone.
“At first, I was a little bit nervous about going into it against Geneva but I felt like my team really stepped it up and girls got assists,” said Deming, who needed six points coming in to reach 1,000. “They definitely helped me to get the six points.”
The Indians’ senior didn’t stop there as she corralled a rebound off her own miss and converted it into a traditional 3-point play to give the Indians a 13-12 lead.
Waterloo led 16-15 after one.
Waterloo’s Angie Davis connected on a 3-pointer early in the second quarter. Chelsea Steinruck followed with one of her own to give the Indians a 22-17 lead.
Steinruck then cut through the lane and provided an off-balance shot that hit off the backboard and through the net for a seven-point edge.
Morrison secured an offensive rebound and tossed the ball back up for a lay-in to slice the deficit to four with two minutes left.
Waterloo’s Chelsea France and Geneva’s Becky Smith traded 3-pointers before Johnson tossed in a basket for a six-point lead.
Morrison notched a late basket to cut the deficit to 30-26 at halftime.
Morrison opened the second half with another basket to slice the deficit further. Deming answered with a steal and swift maneuver through the lane to avoid a defender that resulted in an easy lay-up.
Geneva’s Janee Joyner (13 rebounds) sank three foul shots before Johnson emphatically pulled down a rebound and transitioned the aggressiveness into a basket.
Waterloo led 39-33 entering the fourth quarter.