Waterford snaps skid, tops Southern 68-57

RON JOHNSTON The Marietta Times Waterford’s Russell Young (13) handles the ball as Southern’s Austin Baker defends during a high school boys basketball game Tuesday at the Harry Cooper Annex in Waterford. Waterford won, 68-57.

WATERFORD — Waterford High applied the brakes.

The Wildcats halted a three-game slide with a 68-57 triumph over Southern High Tuesday night in Tri-Valley Conference boys basketball action at the Cooper Annex.

“The big thing is that we knocked down foul shots when we needed to,” said WHS head coach Tom Simms. “And, we needed this win to keep from going back — but we’ve still got a lot of work to do. We’re coming.”

Waterford (8-5) converted 19 of 21 at the free-throw line, including 9 of 10 in the fourth quarter. The Cats also took care of the basketball, committing just 15 turnovers.

“I think at halftime, we only had eight (turnovers),” Simms said. “We’ve just got to keep going and get some confidence back.”

Freshman Holden Dailey paced four double-digit Wildcats scorers with 16 points. Peyten Stephens added 14, while Russ Young and Nick Fouss netted 12 apiece. Wes Jenkins and Zane Heiss each chipped in with five, and Luke Teters had four.

Southern, which dropped a 52-50 decision to Waterford in Racine earlier this month, was led by Weston Thorla’s career-high 25 points, including five triples. No other Tornado cager scored in double figures, but Trey McNickle tallied nine markers, and Brayden Cunningham chipped in with eight. Cole Steele had seven.

Both schools struggled on offense in the opening period, scoring eight points apiece.

Waterford scored eight unanswered points to start the second stanza and never looked back. Young got things going with a steal and layup, and that was followed by a Fouss jumper.

After Dailey scored on a layup, Southern called timeout.

When play was resumed, Dailey scored again to stretch the Wildcat lead to 16-8. Southern halted the run on a Cunningham bucket. With a little over a minute remaining, Young’s deuce gave the green and white cagers their first double-digit advantage, 24-14, of the contest.

Teters’ drive and score helped Waterford take a 26-18 lead into the locker room at halftime.

WHS maintained the advantage in the third quarter, outpointing Southern, 19-15. The Wildcats were 7 of-8 from the charity stripe in the period, and with 3:27 remaining, their lead bulged to 38-23. Keeping the Tornadoes from getting blown out, Thorla scored 12 of his team’s points — and he was just getting warmed up.

In the fourth quarter, Thorla drained three more trifectas and helped Southern reduce the deficit to single digits. But Waterford was a deadeye at the foul line and was able to keep the Tornadoes at bay. Fouss was 4-of-4; Stephens and Heiss each was 2-of-2; and Young 1-of-2.

Southern on the other hand only converted 4-of-10 from the stripe in the final eight minutes of action.

Waterford is scheduled to play at Federal Hocking at 7:30 p.m. Friday.