Waterford Disposes of Whiteoak to Reach District Finals

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Two packs of Wildcats entered the Convocation Center in hunt of a district final berth, but only one could claim the prize – a Thursday matchup with Coal Grove to determine the Division IV Athens District Champion.

Sunday’s third vs. seventh seed matchup promised to be a close, high-scoring game with plenty of lead changes, but the on-court effort proved to contradict expectations.

Whiteoak (12-13) started hot, but were put on their back foot for nearly the entire game by a Waterford (17-6) team intent on driving to the basket and suffocating Whiteoak’s offense with a defensive scheme that forced hard looks outside with the intent of seizing the rebound on inside shots.

Although Whiteoak’s student section tried to create a crowd advantage, the players couldn’t get on a run to break Waterford’s lead, which only grew and grew with each big moment, eventually stretching to 13 as Waterford wrapped up the game with a 56-43 victory.

One blight on Waterford’s performance was turnovers, recording 11 total turnovers during the game, allowing Whiteoak to keep faith in a comeback attempt.

“They weren’t doing anything that we haven’t seen before all year,” said Waterford head coach Tom Simms. “I think it was just anxiety and fear of losing the lead … in the Convo.”

Waterford was once again led in scoring by Russell Young with 20 points, eight of which came in the first quarter. Nick Fauss followed close behind Young with 12 points, all in the second half. Standout players for Whiteoak include Hunter Ruckel and Zach Rand with 13 and 11 points respectively.

Waterford looks to once again claim the title of underdogs as they do battle with the first seed Coal Grove Hornets in the Convo on Thursday.