Late Run Propels Waterford Ahead of Eastern

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Slow and steady was the name of the game in the first half when Waterford (12-6, 11-3 TVC-Hocking) hosted Eastern (11-9, 8-6) Friday night in a matchup featuring the second and third ranked teams in the Hocking.

Both teams were unable to find any rhythm in transition and were forced to slow down their offense and move the ball around to find open looks, eventually leading to a 51-45 Waterford victory.

After Eastern took an 18-17 lead to the half, Waterford made some halftime adjustments, choosing to implement a more aggressive full-court pressure to open the third quarter. As a result, the Wildcats forced turnovers and disrupted the momentum of the Eastern offense. Waterford outscored Eastern 20-10 in the quarter. Frustration took over for the Eagles especially when Garrett Barringer had to sit for a while early in the third quarter after picking up his third foul.

The Waterford defense came in with a game plan to shut down Barringer and they executed it perfectly. Waterford coach Tom Simms talked about their defensive game plan against Barringer.

“We wanted to keep him pushed out and not have the ability to get to the rack,” Simms said. “We brought it up at halftime and made the halftime adjustment and shut him down after that.”

Offensively, Russell Young and Zane Heiss led the Wildcats in scoring. Young added 18 points and three assists, while Heiss dropped 15 of his own. Young also had the job of matching up with Barringer on the defensive side of the ball.

For Eastern, their offense revolved around two guys: Isaiah Fish and Barringer. Fish finished with 21 points on 9 of 16 shooting and six rebounds while Barringer added nine points and four boards. The duo combined for 30 of Eastern’s 45 points as the offense was led by this duo.

Eastern turned their game around in the fourth quarter, going on a 9-0 run to tie the game. All of the momentum was favoring the Eagles, but once again the Wildcats made the necessary changes, forced a few turnovers and took advantage of Eastern’s mistakes. Eastern tallied 13 turnovers on the night and none had far greater of an impact than those at the end of the game.

With the loss, Eastern will look towards their last two regular season matchups, away at Trimble and home against Southern, to fine tune their mistakes before the tournament. For Waterford, they have locked up a top-two spot in the Hocking and only trail the Trimble Tomcats by one game. They’ll take on South Gallia and Belpre next week with a chance at the Hocking crown.