WATERFORD - High seas and swirling winds are a sailor's worst nightmare.
On the basketball court, turnovers can become that perfect storm that wrecks any team's night.
But despite 13 second half turnovers, over half of them in a four minute stretch of the third quarter, the Waterford Wildcats rode the swells and weathered the storm to hold off the Belpre Golden Eagles for a 56-50 win at Waterford Elementary Friday evening.
"It (turnovers) kept it closer than we would've liked," said Waterford's Wyatt Porter.
"We don't like living on the edge like that," added senior Austin Shriver.
Those miscues in the third allowed the Golden Eagles to climb back from a six point halftime deficit to tie the game at 39-39 with 57 seconds to play in the third, with momentum riding on their side.
But a clutch basket from Porter stemmed the tide, and Waterford would rattle off nine of 11 points to pull away and never look back.
"We've been trying to stay away from that three-point line, going inside-out. That really helped us (Friday) night," Shriver explained.
The drives and cuts to the basket for points nearly weren't enough to keep the Wildcats from their second straight loss this week, as the Golden Eagles clawed for all they were worth to keep the game within reach.
For the fourth time on the season, however, Belpre found itself trailing at the break. And twice those deficits have been too much to overcome.
"No sense of urgency about us," lamented Belpre boys' basketball coach Jordan Thornhill. "They (Waterford) were the team that wanted it way more than us (Friday) night. Every 50-50 ball they had," he continued.
Those close plays helped Belpre overcome miscues and propel the offense down the stretch, as Belpre didn't hit consecutive buckets after Nick Therriault's bucket tied it in the third.
"We got in trouble, but we weathered the storm," said Waterford boys' basketball coach Tom Simms.
Shriver's three-pointer off an assist from Cody Paxton put Belpre ahead 48-41 with 5:26 to play, ending the streak of nine of 11 points for the Wildcats.
While the Golden Eagles would answer with a bucket from Pittenger in the paint, who along with Therriault accounted for 43 of Belpre's 50 points, the Wildcats would never lead by less than four again.
"The boys did a good job. They stepped up. There's a lot of young boys stepping in. We made some growth tonight," Simms said.
The youthful Wildcats did some growing, but it came at the expense of the Golden Eagles, who were just 5-of-12 from the free throw line.
Of course, Waterford wasn't much better at 10-of-21, including hitting just two charity attempts in the fourth quarter, despite more than an hour of work on it earlier this week.
"(Former Frontier coach) Hank Morus and (former Meigs coach) Carl Wolfe told me, you can't replace the sitatuation of the game shooting free throws," Simms said.
With the bounce-back win following its first loss of the season to Southern on Tuesday, Waterford improves to 2-1 while Belpre fell to 2-2 on the year.
"In our league you've got to play 32 minutes. For the fourth time we did not play 32 minutes," Thornhill said. "We're a few plays away from being 0-4. We're a few plays away from being 4-0."