Waynesville hopes to gain momentum in Rolla.
(Editor's Note: This is one in a series of team profiles for the US Bank/Rolla High Girls' Basketball Tournament. Today: The Waynesville Lady Tigers.)
Waynesville High School girls' basketball head coach Brittany Matlock feels her Lady Tigers are a much better team than a year ago.
Due to a loaded schedule to start the season, however, the Lady Tiger early-season record does not reflect that.
So Matlock hopes to use the US Bank/Rolla High School Holiday Tournament as a springboard to positive momentum.
The girls' bracket of the US Bank/RHS Holiday Tournament will be held Dec. 26-28 at the Rolla High gym.
In first-round games on Thursday, Dec. 26 St. James meets Houston at 3 p.m.; St. Clair challenges Fulton at 4:30; Rolla takes on Sedalia Smith-Cotton at 6 p.m., and Waynesville faces Newburg at 7:30 p.m.
In the girls' bracket on Friday, Dec. 27, the St. James-Houston loser plays the Rolla-Sedalia loser at 2 p.m. and the St. Clair-Fulton loser plays the Waynesville-Newburg loser at 3:30 p.m. in consolation play while the semifinal games pit the St. James-Houston winner against the Rolla-Sedalia winner at 5 p.m. and the St. Clair-Fulton winner against the Waynesville-Newburg winner at 6:30 p.m.
On Saturday, Dec. 28 in the girls' bracket, the seventh-place game is set for 9:30 a.m., the fifth-place game at 12:30 p.m., the third-place game at 3:30 p.m. and the championship game at 6:30 p.m.
St. James and Fulton are newcomers to the field. Last year was the first time the Rolla Girls' Tournament was part of the US Bank event, making both boys' and girls' brackets.
There will be a new girls' champion this year, as defending champion Columbia Hickman isn't in the field.
Last season Waynesville surged to the US Bank girls' title game, falling to Hickman in the finals 48-32.
Waynesville went on to win the Missouri Class 5 District 10 championship before losing to eventual Missouri Class 5 state champion Columbia Rock Bridge in sectional playoff action. The Lady Tigers ended the season 13-14.
This season Waynesville opened the season by playing three consecutive games against state-ranked opposition, dropping games to St. James, ranked No. 3 in the Missouri Class 3 state poll; to Hickman, ranked No. 8 in the Class 5 poll, and Sullivan, ranked No. 4 in the Class 4 poll.
Waynesville was 0-3 entering this week's Sullivan Tournament.
The Lady Tigers are built around a strong frontcourt of 6-2 sophomore forward Kallie Bildner (15 points, 8.3 rebounds last season) and 5-10 senior forward Hannah Bland (12 points, 6.1 rebounds last season) - both all-district selections in 2012-13.
Bildner averages 20.7 points and nearly 10 rebounds per game so far this season while Bland is averaging 14.7 points.
Other key players in the Waynesville rotation include 5-10 senior forward Jordan Laughlin, 5-8 junior forward Kellsie Herrmann, 5-10 freshman forward Bree Stoddard, 5-6 senior guard Janise Simmons and 5-3 freshman guard Nina Kizzee.