Waterford pulls out OT victory over Lancers

MIKE MORRISON The Marietta Times Waterford’s Wyatt Lang, center, goes up for a basket during a high school boys basketball game against Federal Hocking Tuesday at the Harry Cooper Annex.

WATERFORD — The underdog Federal Hocking Lancers had the heavily favored Waterford Wildcats on the ropes.

In the end Waterford proved to be too much for the Lancers as they scored a 60-50 overtime victory in an unexpected thriller Tuesday night at the Harry Cooper Annex at Waterford Elementary School.

The pesky Lancers erased a Wildcat lead that was as many as 11-points in the first half and actually grabbed their first lead since the opening minute of the game with 35 seconds to play in regulation.

Waterford answered in the closing seconds thanks to a rebound and put-back bucket by senior Wyatt Lang.

Wildcat senior guard Bryce Hilverding’s shot was long but Lang established position underneath the bucket and came up with the game-tying score which was ironically his first field goal of the game.

“I was kind of frustrated the whole game and just had to kind of forget about it,” said Lang, who finished the game with seven points and seven rebounds. “I knew when the time was right it would come to me and it did at the right time.”

Waterford out-pointed the Lancers 17-10 in the opening quarter and extended their lead to 11 points twice in the second period before FedHock got a three-pointer by Nathaniel Massie in the closing seconds to cut the lead to 30-22 at the break.

The Lancers managed to carry over the momentum they established in the final seconds of the opening half into the third period as they got field goals by Bradley Russell, Branden Gould and Massie to trim the Wildcat lead to just two.

Pottmeyer’s put-back basket and a short jumper by Russell Young pushed the white and green lead back to six and the Wildcats carried a 42-37 lead heading into the final eight minutes of action.

A pair of freebies by Pottmeyer to open the fourth increased the lead to seven but that would be the last points scored by Waterford until Lang’s tying score in the final seconds.

Russell, who scored a game-high 20 points and also led all rebounders with 16 , scored five consecutive points over a stretch of three minutes to close the lead to just two before Hunter Smith’s scoop shot tied the game with a minute and a half to play.

42 of the Lancers 50 points came from the sophomore Russell and freshmen Massie and Smith.

“We played together and we played hard and our effort was through the roof,” said Lancer head coach Kevin Dunigan, in his first year as well. “We told our kids if they play with that much effort that anything can happen and it almost did.”

Smith came up with his second clutch shot in a row to give Federal Hocking the lead with 35 seconds to play but the experienced Wildcats found a way to come up with the clutch score to force extended play.

The Wildcats quickly regained the lead in overtime as Pottmeyer scored four straight points including an inside bucket on an assist from Hilverding but Russell answered on the other end to draw the Lancers to within two.

Federal Hocking could not get any closer the rest of the way as Waterford scored ten points in a row to pull away to the ten-point victory.

“We really didn’t play very well the whole game until overtime but a win is a win,” said Hilverding, who finished the game with eight points and a pair of assists.

Waterford head coach Tom Simms was proud of how his team responded with their backs planted firmly up against a wall.

“We overcame adversity and we didn’t break,” said Simms, whose team improved to 3-2 and 3-1 in Tri-Valley Conference play with the win. “Federal Hocking has improved by leaps and bounds. We still need to establish our identity and become more of a refined unit.”

Pottmeyer fell one rebound short of a double-double as he scored a team-high 19 and grabbed nine boards while Peyten Stephens added nine points and eight boards.

“We worked together and managed to get things done,” said Pottmeyer. “We struggled in the second half but were able to play well again in overtime.

Massie joined Russell in double-figures for the (0-4) Lancers with 13 points while Smith added nine.

Both teams will continue conference play on Friday night as Waterford travels to Southern and Federal Hocking visits Belpre.