WAYLAND — Entering Friday night, Wayland-Cohocton knew it had secured at least a tie for the top spot in the race for the Livingston County Division I title.
The Golden Eagles, though, weren’t interested in sharing what they’ve worked so hard to obtain.
On this night in front of the hometown fans, the Golden Eagles flapped their wings and outscored visiting Bath in three of the four quarters to win the D-I title outright with a 57-46 victory.
The Rams had a chance to share first-place with a win, but Way-Co managed to take an early lead and had key players step up at important times to hold off Bath-Haverling for the pivotal win at “The Nest."
The victory assured Way-Co of being one of the top-three seeds in Class B of the upcoming Section V Tournament, which will begin following the seedings this week. Depending upon the outcome of the final games early in the week the maroon and gold could finish either No. 1, 2 or 3. Either way, the Golden Eagles will host a home game when sectionals commence on Wednesday, Feb. 22 (unless Way-Co finishes No. 1, in which case its first game would be on Saturday, Feb. 25).
The Eagles soared to an impressive start as coach Al Best's ballclub rolled up 19 first quarter points to take an eight-point lead after one period of play. Leaha Langerman and Kadeynn McInnis led the charge with eight and six points, respectively. The second quarter saw Alex Button step up as she netted 11 of her team's 13 points as the Eagles took a 32-21 lead in at the half.
Coach Randy Abrams got the Rams going to start the third, as his team came out and sliced away a large piece of the deficit.
"Bath cut our lead to three in that quarter and they were playing well,” said Way-Co coach Al Best. “I think one of the things that turned us around was a key steal by Maggie McAllister, who scored on the other end on that play and got us back to playing the defense we should have been playing earlier in that period."
Jadyn Abrams scored six in that eight-minute stretch, helping bring the Rams back. Alex Siebert almost single-handedly took the Rams offense on her back in the fourth by hitting a trio of threes, netting 12 of Bath’s 14 points in the final frame. Wayland-Cohocton took a double digit lead in the final stanza where both teams pretty much traded baskets down the stretch.
Wayland-Cohocton was led by Button's 18 points. McInnis netted 14, and Langerman scored 13. Maggie McAllister had eight, while Kierra McClure and Madison Gregorius each added two.
“I think one of the things that I really liked about this game was the fact that we had three different players step up in different quarters to help us out,” Best said. “That's a good sign for us."
Bath (15-4) was paced by Siebert's 18 points, and Abrams added 13. The Rams wrap up the regular season on Tuesday by hosting Dansville. League title in hand, Wayland-Cohocton (16-3) hosts Avon Tuesday to wrap up the regular season.