Waterford hands Eastern 60-42 loss in TVC action

RON JOHNSTON The Marietta Times Waterford’s Bryce Hilverding attacks the basket during a high school boys basketball game against Eastern Friday night at the Harry Cooper Annex.

WATERFORD — Waterford High protected the lead.

The Wildcats never trailed en route to a 60-42 triumph over visiting Eastern High in a Tri-Valley Conference-Hocking Division boys’ basketball game at the Cooper Annex Friday night.

“We lost one game (to Miller on Tuesday night) in the TVC, so this was kind of a bounce-back win against Eastern,” said senior center Wyatt Lang. “We definitely wanted the ‘W’ tonight. We played together and the defense was clicking.”

Lang scored a game-high 15 points and grabbed eight rebounds for the Wildcats, who evened their overall record to 2-2. Travis Pottmeyer added a double-double with 13 points and 13 caroms, while Bryce Hilverding also finished with 13 points. Peyten Stephens and Austin Pyatt chipped in with eight and seven markers, respectively.

“We’ve just got to get better, and find our identity,” said Waterford head coach Tom Simms. “That’s what we’re working on.”

Eastern, which fell to 1-2, was paced by Isaiah Fish’s 14 points. Garrett Barringer and Kaleb Hill added 11 points apiece. Hill also collected 11 boards. Colton Reynolds was the only other Eagle to score, chipping in with six points.

“That’s not a bad ballclub,” Simms said.

Sparked by Stephens’ six first-quarter points, Waterford staked itself to a 15-5 advantage. Eastern couldn’t buy a bucket, making just one-of-13 from the floor during the opening eight minutes.

In the second quarter, Russell Young, Hilverding, Pottmeyer, and Pyatt each had two field goals as the Wildcats stretched their lead to 33-16 at halftime.

Seven of Eastern’s 11 points in the period came from the foul line.

The Eagles opened up the third quarter with a 6-0 run on buckets by Hill, Barringer and Fish, cutting it to 33-22. At the 2:47 mark of the stanza, Hilverding drained a triple to halt the EHS surge.

“We didn’t come out strong in the third quarter,” Hilverding said. “We haven’t good third quarters this year in all the games we’ve played. We definitely have to work on that.”

Simms agreed and added, “We’ve got to quit having tough quarters. We’ve got to work harder. It wasn’t pretty. We let them get momentum and let them get in the game. We’ve got to stop that.”

Eastern trailed 42-30 going into the final period. During the opening minute of the fourth, Reynolds buried a jumper to reduce the deficit to 10. But Pottmeyer’s bucket put it back to a 12-point advantage.

After the left-handed shooting Fish scored to cut to 10 again, Lang converted two freebies and then scored on a putback to give the Wildcats a 14-point cushion (48-34).

Down the stretch, Waterford kept Eastern at bay by going 10-of-10 from the foul line. Both Hilverding and Pottmeyer were four-of-four from the stripe.

“That’s good, and that’s an improvement,” said Simms of the Wildcats’ foul shooting in the fourth quarter. “But we’ve still got lots of work to do. We’re still not where we need to be.”