WATERLOO -- As the high school basketball calendar turns to the second half of the season, Waterloo West's girls are looking for some health and prosperity in the new year.
An injury-plagued Wahawk team that had to wait 50 days to practice with its entire varsity roster appears to be coming together.
West took advantage of 39 turnovers and knocked down eight 3-pointers Saturday night during a 50-25 win over Union Community inside Siddens Gymnasium.
"We had a goal to get healthy and get better," West coach Tony Pappas said, addressing his team's focus through the recent winter break. "We're getting healthy so we feel good about that, and we're getting better too."
Among the catalysts for the Wahawks is the return of leading scorer Na'Tracia Ceaser. The junior guard converted four 3-pointers and paced West with 16 points, playing back-to-back games this weeekend in her return from injury.
This win improved West to 6-6, one night removed from a loss to Class 5A's top-ranked Iowa City High.
"We were a little bit slow, we were tired from last night, but I think we did pretty good," Ceaser said. "We finished hard."
After West made just 4 of 19 shots in the first quarter, sophomore guard Lauren Conrey helped spark her team a spark with seven of her nine points in the second quarter.
The Wahawks finished the opening half on a 13-3 run to take a 23-8 lead into intermission. Ceaser and Jada Draine then knocked down a pair of 3-pointers to spark a 10-0 run that extended West's lead to 35-10 early in the third quarter.
A youthful Union team (2-8) was led by Allie Driscol. She hit three 3-pointers and finished with 10 points.
"Give Union credit," Pappas said. "I thought they did a really good job in the first half of controlling the pace, especially on defense, and contesting our shots."
Gaining confidence with wins in three of the last four games, the Wahawks look to find continued success through a determined approach.
"Effort, working hard and playing good defense," Ceaser said, addressing the team's keys for more victories in the new year.