Updated Wed, Feb 26, 2014 1:52 am
The No. 5 seed Trimble Tomcats solidified their spot as sectional champions Tuesday night with a 73-66 victory over the No. 4 seed Waterford Wildcats at Meigs High School.
The Tomcat win marks the last team in Athens County to be alive in tournament play.
The road was far from easy, as the 32 minutes of action were filled with momentum swings, big defensive stops and hot hands behind the arc.
The Tomcats stormed out of the gate with a 9-4 lead in the first quarter, forcing Waterford coach Tom Simms to call a timeout and regroup.
With Waterford’s constant defensive shifts, the first quarter set the scene for the battle that would be the next 24 minutes at Meigs High School.
Jacob Koons’ presence was shining early on, as he was 4 of 4 from behind the arc just 11 minutes into the game. Koons’ hot hands led the Tomcats to their first ten-point lead of the game, signaling the time for Waterford’s defense to come alive.
The Wildcats’ defense arrived just in time, as they were in desperate need of some momentum. Two quick turnovers and two 3-pointers threw Waterford back into the game, trailing by just two, 36-34, going into the locker room.
The Wildcats continued to switch up defenses, attempting to shut down Trimble’s fast break mentality and inside game.
The zone press allowed Trystan Crawford and Tanner Pottmeyer to give the Wildcats an edge with quick, key points.
Despite Waterford coming alive in the third quarter, Micah Couch, a finalist for the Hardwood Heroes All-Hero Team, kept the Tomcats within reach going into the final minutes of play.
With five minutes left in the sectional final, Couch solidified another double-double for his résumé and sparked the Trimble game the Hocking has been used to seeing all season.
“We had two guys step up and get us 20 points plus and that really helped us,” coach Curt Moore said. “We controlled the ball much better this game.”
Numerous free throws and pivotal shots from Justice Jenkins, Konner Standley and Couch signed off the win for the Tomcats and directed them straight to the Convocation Center.
“We put Justice on J.V. a little earlier in the year and that really sparked his confidence and since then, he has been an animal,” Moore said.
The Trimble Tomcats will meet the No. 1 Peebles Indians Tuesday, Mar. 4 at the Convocation Center at 6:15 p.m.