Wildcats ousted: Waterford boys fall to Trimble 73-66 in sectional

POMEROY – Waterford’s dreams of making a return trip to the Convo this season were dashed by a 19-0 run by Trimble during Tuesday’s sectional final game at Meigs High School.

The Tomcats scored the final basket of the third quarter and the first 17 points of the fourth quarter to turn a 56-49 deficit into a 68-56 lead with just two minutes left in the game. They went on to win 73-66 to claim a sectional championship and advance on to district play at Ohio University’s Convocation Center.

Trimble had threats all over the court, with post player Micah Couch and guard Jacob Koons each tallying 23 points. Justice Jenkins and Konner Standley added 12 and 11 markers, respectively. That foursome combined to score all 22 of the team’s fourth quarter points.

“We really stepped up our defensive pressure at the end,” said Trimble head coach Curt Moore. “We challenged the kids (after Waterford) hit a bunch of threes to get out and guard them and contest them and keep them away from the rim and limit them to one shot. Then, take care of the ball on the offensive end and good things were gonna happen, and we did that.”

Koons hit his first four 3-point attempts of the game, his third giving Trimble a 19-13 lead down the stretch of the first quarter, but Waterford’s Jordan Welch and Wyatt Porter answered with back-to-back 3-pointers to tie the game at 19-all. Both treys were assisted by Mitch Ginther.

Koons’ fourth 3-pointer came during a stretch in the second quarter where he scored seven straight points for the Tomcats, giving them a 33-22 advantage.

A pair of baskets by Garrett LeMasters cut it to 35-26. After a free throw by Couch, Paxton made a layup before assisting Ginther and Eli Strahler on consecutive triples to end the half with Waterford down two, 36-34.

Midway through the third, Waterford took its first lead, 45-44, since early in the first quarter on a pull-up jumper by Trystan Crawford. Strahler then assisted Welch and Crawford on back-to-back triples to make the Wildcats’ lead seven, 51-44.

A floater by Strahler and another Welch 3-ball kept the advantage at seven before Grant Clarke made a baseline jumper at the buzzer to make the score 56-51 with one quarter remaining.

Couch scored eight of the first 10 points for Trimble in the fourth to give the Tomcats the lead for good. Later, Standley and Jenkins combined for three free throws to put Trimble up by 12, 68-56, with just 2:03 remaining to put things out of reach for Waterford.

“We played good defense in the third, but we didn’t continue it into the fourth,” said Waterford head coach Tom Simms. “That’s the bottom-line. We had to defensively make our offense work. Third quarter, great job. Got the lead, then took that step back (in the fourth quarter.)

“We can’t give up 73 points and expect to win.”

Waterford spread out its scoring with eight players recording at least three points. Welch made four triples and finished with a team-high 14 points. Crawford and Tanner Pottmeyer each tallied 12 points while Strahler added 10 and dished out a game-best five assists. The Wildcats made 11 3-pointers in the game and finished 26-for-59 (44 percent) from the field.

Trimble was just a touch better though, shooting 56 percent (28-for-50). Couch, who finished 10-for-14 from the floor, added 11 rebounds to go along with his 23 points for a double-double.

Of the decisive fourth quarter, Couch said “It was huge. We stepped up our defense and then worked the ball on offense and got some open looks. That’s what won the game for us right there was our defensive play on that run.”

Trimble held a 29-20 advantage in rebounding and also made 13-of-22 shots at the foul line to just 3-of-5 for Waterford.

“That’s a very good team,” Moore said of Waterford, which was co-TVC-Hocking champions. “I’ve said it all along, this year Waterford has played the best team ball as anybody in the league over the course of 20 games. Hats off to them. Coach Simms does a very nice job with his team.”

The Wildcats (14-8) are eliminated from postseason play but are still trying to make up a game against Frontier. Trimble (11-10) advances to the district semifinal where it will play either Peebles or North Adams next Tuesday at the Convo.