Thieman leads Waterford past Trimble

WATERFORD – Even after the game, Trimble coach Howie Caldwell still didn’t know the name of Waterford’s No. 40.

It’s a good bet he’ll know who Andrew Thieman is if they play again this year.

“I thought No. 40 (Andrew Thieman) played one heck of a game,” Caldwell said. “We had a heck of a time stopping him from getting the ball.”

Thieman, who came off the bench, was tough to stop as he scored seven of his 11 points in the fourth quarter in a 64-61 Waterford win at the Harry Cooper Annex at Waterford Elementary School.

Waterford coach Tom Simms said Thieman missed all of December with health problems, and he’s happy to have him back down the stretch run.

“We know what he’s capable of inside and when he’s feeling good nobody is going to deal with his footwork,” Simms said. “We’re going deep into the bench, so it doesn’t matter who we start.”

Saturday’s victory helped the Wildcats (11-3, 9-2) jump into a three-way tie for the top spot in the Tri-Valley Conference’s Hocking Division. Trimble is 13-3 overall and 9-2 in conference play, while South Gallia is 13-2 and 9-2.

Isaac Huffman, who led the Wildcats with 15 points and eight rebounds, said he and his teammates knew what was on the line.

“Now we’re tied for first and we hope some teams will come up and knock off Trimble and South Gallia,” he said. “But we have to do our thing and win out. If we keep playing as a team we’ll get our wins.”

Waterford has won back-to-back games, including a 53-37 win at Federal Hocking on Friday.

“We had a short turnaround. We played (Federal Hocking) on the road last night, and (Trimble) played at home last night,” Simms said. “That was a short turnaround, and it was an afternoon game.”

It was a nice two-day stretch, especially since Waterford had lost to South Gallia, 52-43, on Jan. 26 and to Trimble, 60-57, on Jan. 15.

Caldwell said he was impressed with Waterford’s composure, which was rattled early in the game.

“I’m a little disappointed that we had a 34-26 lead and let it get away. We had them playing our tempo and everything,” he said. “In the second half our tempo just went haywire. I would say Waterford had a lot to do with that.”

From the end of the third period through the first 90 seconds of the fourth period, Waterford enjoyed a 13-0 run that gave the Wildcats a 49-44 lead. While the Tomcats battled back and cut the lead to one at 59-58 with two minutes to play, Waterford never relinquished the lead.

“We just told them, ‘Instead of being hunted by people, you have to go hunt,’ ” Simms said. “We’ve been hunted and hunted and hunted. I told them to step up. We came in and had a walk-through today and they were feeling good after last night. So I told them to go play and they did.”

Trimble’s top scorer Bryce Guthrie had 17 points and 15 rebounds, but he also played in foul trouble for most of the second half. Tyler Slack chipped in with 14 points in the loss.

The Wildcats remain on the hunt when they host Eastern at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and at Fort Frye at 7:30 p.m. on Friday. Trimble is at Southern on Tuesday and the Tomcats still have two games with South Gallia – Feb. 6 on the road and at home on Feb. 12.