Sports

Waterford Rides High in Victory Over Eastern

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Four minutes into the third quarter, Waterford forward Jordan Welch caught a pass in transition from teammate Cody Harris and attempted to lay it up. The shot grazed the side of the rim and Welch, surrounded by three Eastern players, reached above the Eagles players, grabbed the rebound, pump faked once and shot the ball off the backboard and into the hoop.

That play accounted for two of only Welch’s six points but was a microcosm for the way he played all game.

His hustle and second-effort plays helped the Wildcats defeat TVC-Hocking rival Eastern, 71-46.

“Jordan understands that if he is not scoring,” Waterford coach Tom Simms said, “then there are other parts of the game he can help out on too.”

And it was those “other parts” that Welch not only helped out on, but excelled at. In the third quarter alone, the senior forward accumulated three rebounds, two steals, four points, and two assists.

In the final two quarters coach Simms decided to switch up his defense. Originally playing a soft man-to-man defense, he then adjusted to a half-court press. The press combined with Welch’s defense propelled the Wildcats to a 46-point second half. The Eagles were unable to advance the ball past the half-court on many possessions and were consistently throwing erred passes after being trapped.

“They were putting the freshman up on top and we were like ‘okay, let’s see what he can do,’ and it kind of shook him a bit,” Simms said in regards to the second half adjustment. “Also we wanted to work on it a bit, we used it against Trimble, against Fort Frye, and we’ve got to get it incorporated it more and more.”

Perhaps this was the best showing of the press that Waterford has had thus far. Eastern was unable to figure out the Wildcats’ new defense and it led to transition points and easy baskets. Many times, it was Welch who was throwing the cross-court pass on the break or diving for loose balls.

Sure, Welch only scored six points but he is not concerned with his point total.

“I’m not really worried about the points,” Welch said. “I just want to win.”

Welch’s effort was hard to miss all game but it certainly helped to a great supporting cast around him. The Wildcats had four players in double-digit scoring. Cody Harris led the way with 17 points on an astounding 7-for-11 shooting. He was joined by Bryce Hilverding with 13 points, Isaac Huffman and Tyler McCutcheon both added 12 points.

Though they lost by 25, Eastern still had a reason to cheer after the game as senior Jett Facemeyer notched his 1,000th point of his career.

Although Facemeyer left the arena with the game ball, it was Welch and the Wildcats who left with the victory.