Cat fight: Waterford downs Wood County Christian 73-54

WILLIAMSTOWN – In a battle of local Wildcats, it was Waterford High that bested Wood County Christian School 73-54 Friday in Williamstown.

Waterford shot 50 percent (28-for-56) from the floor and forced 21 Wood County turnovers to pull away in the contest.

An Eli Strahler layup off an assist from Mitch Ginther midway through the first quarter put Waterford up 9-8. The green and white held the lead for the remainder of the game as WCCS couldn’t quite get a rally going against Waterford’s pressure.

“We haven’t played in a week,” said Waterford head coach Tom Simms. “They had fresh legs. We’ve got to get some flow going, get some chemistry back, so we decided ‘okay, we’re just gonna push ’em. Get ’em going, get ’em clicking and it seemed to work. We kept changing things and they clicked. So that was huge.”

Waterford closed out the opening quarter on a 7-0 run, capped by a 3-pointer at the buzzer by Strahler off Jordan Welch’s assist, to go up 16-8.

Ginther got a layup off a steal to open the second period before Patrick Goff converted a 3-point play for Wood County Christian to cut the deficit to 18-11.

Welch answered with a trey, but D.J. Spencer fired right back with a 3-ball of his own to keep the margin at seven.

After Waterford’s Trystan Crawford and Wood County’s Mitch Morris traded buckets, the green and white went on a 9-2 run, led by baskets off steals by Crawford and Cameron Bosner, to increase its lead to 32-18.

Isaac Brown responded with a much-needed shot from well beyond the arch, but Waterford scored the final six points of the half to take a 38-21 lead. Strahler contributed two fastbreak layups off steals in the final 40 seconds of the second quarter.

After a Logan Huck free throw and a Douglas Ernest layup, Waterford’s Tanner Pottmeyer and Cody Paxton knocked down back-to-back buckets to make the score 42-24 midway through the third quarter.

A triple by Huck and a lay-in by Goff brought Wood County Christian within 13, 42-29, but Waterford answered with an 8-2 run to extend the lead to 50-31.

WCCS was only outscored 35-33 in the second half, but the 17-point halftime deficit proved too much to overcome.

Paxton’s 17 points led Waterford while Crawford added 14 and Strahler scored 12. Garrett LeMasters chipped in with eight markers, all coming in the fourth quarter.

Goff was Wood County’s top performer with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Brown added 11 points while Ernest tallied eight.

Waterford, like most teams in Ohio, has struggled to see a lot of game action recently due to the weather but will now go through a stretch of five games over the next week.

“We’ve got to get (the rust) shook off,” Simms said. “I’m glad we played (Friday) and got ourselves back orientated to the floor.

“We’ve got to pick our game up more and more and get better.”

The green and white Wildcats are right back in action Saturday as they face rival Fort Frye in Beverly.