One slip-up and it can be the last game of the season, and in many cases a career.
Nobody personifies consistency better the Western Reserve’s Cora Wyers. That dedication culminated in her breaking the all-time career scoring record at the school in Wednesday night’s 64-27 clubbing of Bucyrus in a Division III sectional semifinal at Willard High School.
With the win, Western (17-4) advanced to Saturday’s sectional title game vs. Colonel Crawford (14-8) at 6:15 p.m. Saturday back at Willard.
The milestone came with Western Reserve up 50-26 with 7.9 seconds remaining in the third quarter when Wyers was hacked underneath the rim and headed to the free-throw line two points away from topping the mark held by Vicky Mahl — the current head coach at St. Paul.
Wyers now has 1,185 career points entering Saturday’s game.
“It’ means everything,” Wyers said. “I started by basketball career here and get to finish it here — I’m so proud to be a Lady Rider. As a freshman it was one of my goals. I wanted to score 1,000 points and try to break the record on top.”
The ‘Riders dominated the game underneath where they out-rebounded and outmuscled Bucyrus. And what they lacked in shooting precision, they more than made up for in physicality. Western Reserve grabbed 26 offensive rebounded and turned them into better than 20 second and third chance points.
After falling behind 13 points, Bucyrus built up momentum in the second quarter when it outscored the ‘Riders 13-11 and came as close as 11 points before getting dominated 34-8 in the second half.
“I’m glad to get that one over with,” Western Reserve coach Brenda Friend said. “When you are expected to win, it adds pressure and these girls have had to overcome so much in the past and they came out and handled it well tonight.
“I thought that we started out well and then had a few lapses in the second quarter where they were able to get out in transition,” she added. “We knew they were good in transition and from three from scouting them. I thought we did a good job regaining our composure and paying more attention to details in the second half and was really happy with how we played.”
Friend said she was thrilled for Wyers and that she felt that it may have lifted some weight off her shoulders.
“Cora is such an unselfish player and I never heard her talk about the record, but I think it may have put a little pressure on her,” Friend said. “Cora is everything you ask for in a leader.
“She puts as much work into it as anyone does and she has a genuine love for this program and really tries to make the underclassmen better,” she added. “And where some kids might not care what happens to after they graduate, Cora wants to see the program continue to get better after she leaves.”
Scoring wasn’t all Wyers did in the game. She pulled 22 rebounds and blocked nine shot attempts to go with her 19 points, despite sitting most of the fourth quarter.
McKenna Woodruff added nine points and 11 rebounds for the ‘Riders and Avery Tubbs scored 11.
“Our team chemistry is amazing and every single game we go into, it’s not who scores the most,” Wyers. “We try to get the job done and win. We have several girls score in double digits, which I think is impressive and everyone does their part to try to get a win.”
Ni’Georgia Floyd 3-0—9; Caleigh Rister 1-1—4; Alivia Lewis 2-2—6; Lauren Kohler 1-0—2; Taylor Patterson 1-0—2; Claire Schifer 1-0—2; Jill Wise 1-0—2. TOTAL 10-3—27
WESTERN RESERVE (17-4)
Katie Hipp 3-1—7; Isabella Zvara 2-0—4; Jenna Skrada 0-3—3; Avery Tubbs 5-0—11; Isabelle Duchette 1-0—2; McKenna Woodruff 4-1—9; Emma Blankenship 1-0—2; Emma Weber 2-3—7; Cora Wyers 7-5—19. TOTAL 25-13—64
Bucyrus 6 13 7 1 — 27
Western 19 11 22 12 — 64
3-point FGs: (B) Floyd 3, Rister; (WR) Tubbs.