Prep boys basketball: Cats face Vikings tonight

WATERFORD – Waterford Wildcat head basketball coach Tom Simms would like nothing more than to begin sectional tournament play the exact same way that Coach Jerry Close and the Lady Wildcats did, with a victory over the Symmes Valley Vikings.

The Wildcats travel to Meigs High School this evening to battle the Vikings with a trip to the Convocation Center on the campus of Ohio University on the line.

Simms has done his homework on the No. 2-seeded Vikings, and feels a key to pulling off an upset victory will be his team’s ability to stop Symmes Valley big man Tyler Rowe.

“They have got a big kid inside (Rowe) and a couple of guys on the outside that we will need to be aware of,” said Simms of the Vikings, who went 12-10 in the regular season. “They are a methodical team. They will try to pound it and want to get it inside to Rowe and we will have to shut him down.”

The Wildcat 2012-2013 season got off to a great start as the green and white won four of their first five games, but as the calendar changed to 2013, they fell into a deep slump which included a eight-game losing streak.

WHS comes into tonight’s game seeded No. 7 with a 7-13 season record and figure to start seniors’ Austin Shriver and Brian Moore as well as juniors’ Eli Strahler and Wyatt Porter and sophomore Cody Paxton.

Andrew Bauerbach, Jacob McCutcheon, and sophomore Tanner Pottmeyer will also see considerable playing time for Coach Simms and the Cats.

Despite the 3-12 finish, Simms has been pleased with the effort put forth by his team.

“I have never questioned how hard our kids play,” said Simms of his squad, who dropped a 60-39 decision to the Fort Frye Cadets in its regular-season finale. “Our kids give us everything we ask of them. We just wish a few more shots had fallen at the right times.”

If Waterford is to pull off the upset, it will likely need a big game from its leading score Shriver, who was blanked in the Fort Frye contest Saturday night.

“We can’t have Austin Shriver go through a game and not score a point,” said Simms of his senior leader who has battled injuries throughout a big portion of the season. “A guy that’s averaging 14 or 15 points a game doesn’t score, you just can’t cover that.”

Joining Rowe as key components of the Viking squad are Austin Baldwin and D.J. Miller who scored 20 and 13 points respectively in Symmes Valleys last regular season contest against New Boston.

Alec Herrell, Jonathon Kouns, and Dylan Malone also figure to see plenty of action for the Vikes.

The winner will claim a sectional championship as well as earning a trip to Athens on Monday night to take on the winner of the Franklin Furnace Green versus Portsmouth Sciotoville Community game.

Tonight’s game is scheduled for an 8 p.m. tip-off.