Waterford boys cruise past Symmes Valley, 58-39

POMEROY – The Waterford Wildcats have perhaps the most depth of any high school basketball team in the Mid-Ohio Valley.

That depth was on display in grand fashion Wednesday evening as the Tom Simms-led Wildcats rolled to a 58-39 victory over the Symmes Valley Vikings at Meigs High School to capture their second consecutive Division IV Sectional championship and their third in the last four years.

“All 13 of our kids bust their butt at practice and even though all of their minutes are not the same, everyone of them can come in and make things happen,” said Simms, who played all 13 kids in the game. “It’s been a real blessing for us to have the ability to go that deep.”

Eight different Wildcat players got in on the act as the green and white jumped out to a 37-18 lead at the intermission that they increased to as many as 28 in the second before cruising to the 19-point win.

Nine different Waterford players were credited with an assist in the opening half alone and the Wildcat defense forced no less than 20 Viking turnovers in the game. Waterford quickly extended its lead past 20 right off the bat in the second half on a basket by Bryce Hilverding and a three-pointer by Tyler McCutcheon. Junior Riley Burns increased the ‘Cat lead to 24 with an inside bucket and after a pair of Symmes Valley free throws by Collin Webb, Wildcat sophomore Wyatt Lang brought the heavy contingent of Wildcat fans to their feet with a thunderous two-handed dunk to increase the lead to 46-22.

“I think our crowd got a little excited when Wyatt (Lang) went up and did that,” said Simms of the dunk. “He works on that every day in practice but he’s not the only one capable of doing that, they just haven’t got the nerve to do it.”

Symmes Valley outscored Waterford by a 16-5 count in the final quarter to make the final score seem a little more respectable.

Tyler McCutcheon came off the Waterford bench to toss in a game-high 16 points while Lang and Jordan Welch also reached double figures with 11 and 10 points respectively.

Lang completed the double-double by yanking down a game-high 13 rebounds while also leading the Wildcats in steals with five.

Collin Webb led Symmes Valley (8-14) with seven points while Shawn Belville and Lakin Gothard added six markers apiece.

Waterford will next travel to Athens Monday evening to take on top- seeded Beaver Eastern at the Ohio University Convo (8 p.m.).

“We worked on some things over the past four days and changed some stuff and the kids did what we asked them,” said Simms, of his team which improved their season record to an impressive 18-4 with the win. “They have done that all year long and they are just a great bunch of kids.”