Young, Heiss lead Waterford past Eastern, 51-45
WATERFORD — Russ Young and Zane Heiss were the triggermen.
The Waterford High duo combined for 33 points to lead the Wildcats to a 51-45 triumph over Eastern High in a Tri-Valley Conference-Hocking Division boys’ basketball game at the Harry Cooper Annex Friday night.
Young finished with 18 points and Heiss 15 as WHS improved its record to 12-6 overall. Nick Fouss added nine markers for the winners.
“We’re coming and getting right where we want to be,” said Waterford head coach Tom Simms. “You don’t want to peak early. You want to peak getting towards tournament time. We’ve just got to keep fighting hard and working hard.
“Three games this week. Three hard games. So, I knew we were going to be struggling a little bit tonight. But you know what, they pulled themselves together and got it done. I mean, Eastern’s coming on really well.”
Isiah Fish tallied a game-high 20 points to pace the Eagles, who fell to 11-9 on the season. Garrett Barringer chipped in with 10 markers, all in the first half.
While the contest featured 14 lead changes and five ties, it got off to a slow start with Eastern staking itself to an 8-7 first-quarter advantage.
The second quarter was tight the entire time with Eastern’s Fish scoring five points and Barringer four. Waterford got a boost from senior Peyten Stephens, who scored four points coming off the bench. He’d had an injured arm.
“We got Peyten back, in and out a little bit tonight,” Simms said. “So our chemistry was a little messed up, but we’ll get that worked on tomorrow. It’s nice to have him back, though.”
With Fish (10) and Barringer (8) doing all the scoring in the first half, the Eagles led 18-17 at the intermission.
Sparked by Young and Heiss, who each scored seven points apiece in the third quarter, Waterford regained the lead and stretched it into double digits, 35-25, at the 2:27 mark. The Cats led 37-28 going into the final period.
“I challenged Russ hard at halftime,” Simms said. “He hasn’t been challenged like that all season, and he answered what I wanted.
“And, Zane is very capable of carrying this team if he wants to do it, and he’s responded.”
Eastern opened up the fourth quarter with a 9-0 run, and knotted the score at 37-all. During the run, Mason Dishong had four points and Fish five.
During the next couple of minutes or so, there were four lead changes and one more tie. On the fourth lead change with under 3 minutes to play, Fouss scored on a layup with Young getting the assist, making it 44-43 Cats.
Young then made a bucket, gaving Waterford a three-point cushion.
After an Eastern timeout, the Eagles turned the ball over.
With under a minute to play, Young converted 1 of 2 from the line, and Waterford led 47-43. Then, Heiss made two charity tosses, and that was followed by two by Young to keep the Eagles at bay.
“We saved our butts at the foul line again, didn’t we,” Simms said.