BATH TWP. — The Whiz Kids aren’t ready quite yet, but they’re getting closer.
The Revere girls basketball team gave Wadsworth its best shot and was tied with the No. 2 team in The Associated Press Division I state poll with approximately 11 minutes left.
Like so many other times during their 54-game Suburban League winning streak, though, the Grizzlies’ toughness won out.
Executing in the half court as well as it has all season, Wadsworth pulled away to win 61-43 in front of a large Saturday afternoon crowd.
“We have to bring to it a little bit because we can get beat on any night,” do-everything senior Peyton Booth said. “We can’t roll out the ball and win. That’s how we played in the first half, but we picked it up in the second half.”
The Grizzlies (12-0, 7-0) scored 24 of the game’s final 30 points after the Minutemen (11-3, 5-2), who start three sophomores, a freshman and a senior, tied the score at 37 late in the third quarter.
Small forward Jodi Johnson led Wadsworth with a game-high 21 points, Booth had 11 points and seven assists, point guard Hannah Centea clamped down talented counterpart Camryn Brown (15 points, 4 assists) in the second half and sixth man Taylor Wyatt added 10 points.
Not normally known as an outside shooting team this season, the Grizzlies made 9-of-18 3-pointers during an afternoon in which they also were 20-for-39 from the floor overall, 12-for-18 at the free throw line and committed just nine turnovers.
“We knew we had to execute every play, which helped us get open shots and do what we needed to do,” said Johnson, who had a nifty Euro step for a layup in the third quarter.
Wadsworth coach Andrew Booth called timeout after Revere’s Marissa Harbath tied the game at 37. The Grizzlies then went on a 9-0 that extended into the fourth quarter, when backup forward Olivia Thompson nailed a 3-pointer to make it 46-37.
The Minutemen answered with two free throws by sophomore center Caitlin Vari (12 points, 11 rebounds) to momentarily stop the bleeding, but a free throw from Peyton Booth and buckets by Courtney Palange, Centea, Johnson and Madison Gilger (4 points, 8 rebounds) gave Wadsworth a commanding 56-41 advantage.
Wyatt and Johnson then combined to make 5-of-6 free throws to finish the near-flawless fourth quarter.
“Our tempo just set in a little bit,” Peyton Booth said. “We kept running and running, made shots and they weren’t making the shots they were making in the first half.”
The dynamic 1-2 punch of Brown and Vari came out swinging to begin the game. Brown handled the Grizzlies’ full-court pressure admirably and was pulling up from NBA range to keep Wadsworth’s perimeter defense honest. That opened opportunities for Vari to score inside.
Brown and Vari combined for 18 of Revere’s 26 first-half points as it trailed by two at halftime, but Wadsworth kept momentum from totally swinging thanks to Booth’s four points and four assists in the second quarter.
The status quo remained early in the second half until Mercyhurst recruit Centea slowly began to wear down Brown, who was scoreless while missing six shots over the final 12 minutes.
“(Camryn) got her points and stuff, but Hannah did a really good job,” Johnson said. “It helped in the end.”
Once the Grizzlies sensed the door was open, they flung it open emphatically to take a two-game lead over Revere and Nordonia (10-3, 5-2), which was upset by Green, in the SL standings.
The rematch is Feb. 12 in the league finale, but that may not matter.
“We learned coming into tough games that we can pull them out,” Johnson said. “We hadn’t been practicing well this week, and it showed in the first half. We need to practice better.”
Brenna Murphy, the daughter of Highland boys coach Michael Murphy, had 12 points as Wadsworth’s junior varsity won 46-29.
Contact Albert Grindle at (330) 721-4043 or firstname.lastname@example.org.