Waterford Jumps Out Early Against Symmes Valley

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When No. 3 seed Waterford’s Wyatt Lang put his head down and took his steps toward the basket there was only one place that ball was going: forcefully into the basket as Lang sent the crowd at Meigs High School into hysterics with a thunderous dunk. 

That wasn’t the only thing Waterford fans had to cheer for Wednesday, as the Wildcats used stifling defense and second-chance points to sweep the Division IV sectionals and beat No. 6 seed Symmes Valley, 58-39.

The Wildcats immediately lived up to their high seeding with an pass-happy offense that cut through the Vikings’ defensive sets and allowed Waterford to record 18 assists on 23 made field goals.

And when the ball wasn’t flying across the perimeter or into the post, Lang and Andrew Thieman were driving to the basket for contested layups and second-chance opportunities.

That would be Symmes Valley’s undoing, as it allowed the Wildcats to settle in the paint and put up two or three shots on each possession until the ball fell through the net. 

But rebounding wasn’t the Vikings’ biggest problem: Keeping the ball away from the Wildcats’ quick hands was the main issue.

Waterford had 19 steals on the game and forced a litany of Symmes Valley turnovers by crowding them in space, pressing them in the corners and cutting off passing lanes.

Every time a Viking touched the ball, a Wildcat was within touching distance. Getting an uncontested look at any point during the game was a struggle for Symmes Valley.

By the time Lang got his dunk in the third quarter, Waterford had built an insurmountable lead that would be in no danger for the rest of the game. 

Lang finished the game with nine points, 11 rebounds and five steals, and he almost had a second dunk in the waning minutes of the game, only to be blocked by the rim.

Waterford will face either Eastern Pike or South Webster at The Convo on Feb. 29 at 8 p.m.