Team Play From Waterford Cruises Past Green

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Team basketball is a beautiful thing. When five players mesh together so well it shows up on the scoreboard as well as on the stat sheet. Waterford’s boys’ team played like a team that is well-deserving of their No. 1 seed in their district on Tuesday night against Green High School.

The Wildcats made 30 field goals in the game. They assisted on 26 of those.

The unselfish play allowed the Wildcats to defeat Green, 77-52.

By the time the first eight minutes ended, the game was well out of reach for the Bobcats. Waterford just completed a 17-0 run and were up 20-4. One of the main catalysts for the run was senior forward Jordan Welch, who had one of his best games of the year. Welch made three 3-pointers and dished out three assists in the first eight minutes.

The do-it-all player for the Wildcats would finish the game with 24 points, eight rebounds, nine assists, three steals and a block.

“Jordan started to get into a rhythm about three games back,” Simms said. “We just told him ‘let’s keep riding the rhythm and get into focus’ and that is what we wanted to make happen with him right now. And when he starts stroking we let him stroke it.”

Welch attributes his confidence in his shooting to his teammates that open up the offense to let him get comfortable.

“Isaac just throws it to me on the wing and they were giving me space so I was like ‘why not try’,” Welch said. “Seeing Tyler [McCutcheon] and Bryce [Hilverding] shoot the ball as good as they did, it gives you confidence to just let it fly.”

But if you ask Waterford Head Coach Tom Simms, the team fell apart after the opening quarter. Simms was adamant following the game, stressing that after the first quarter the team’s defense was lacking and they were being too sloppy with the ball.

“[The first quarter] will be up there as one of the best quarters that we have played,” Coach Simms said. “If they would do that consistently throughout the game then it would’ve been a great first quarter. We got to match the first quarter consistently or else we’re going home.”

At halftime the score was 48-18. The “poor” play came from giving up 14 points in the second quarter while also turning the ball over three times but scoring 28 points.

The Wildcats secured the win early but Simms is correct, his team came out a bit complacent in the second half. With a thirty-point lead, Waterford ended up turning the ball over nine times in the third and ran the floor a bit out of control.

“We got to focus for 32 minutes,” Simms said. “The first quarter was fine then the second quarter we let them get going. We were up 40 then [winning by 25] is what we finish by. We got to focus up and fix the defense.”

Green outscored Waterford in the fourth by 14 points, albeit, Waterford already had the reserves in.

Although the Wildcats did not—in the eyes of their coach—play a complete game, they played as a team. Three starters were in double-figures—Hilverding had 15 points and Travis Pottmeyer added 13. Plus Isaac Huffman, who consistently plays as a pass-first player, had seven points, four rebounds, and nine assists.

It wasn’t perfect, but Waterford knows exactly what it needs to improve on in order to make a deep run into the tournament.

“[Coach Simm’s] big thing tonight was our defense,” Welch said. “We played bad defensively so we will definitely be working on that so we can go far in the tournament.”

Winning a playoff game by 25 would please most coaches, but Coach Simms walked onto the bus Tuesday night frustrated.

“We lost focus and got complacent in the second half,” he said.

Waterford will attempt to play a complete game when they travel to the Athens, Ohio to play in the Convocation Center on March 7 against No. 4 seed Fairfield.