Perfect ending for Waterford seniors

WATERFORD – Brooke Drayer, Chelsey Paxton and Hannah Offenberger played their final career games at Waterford Elementary School Thursday as it was “Senior Night” for the Wildcats.

The trio of Waterford seniors made it a night to remember, as they helped the team claim a 69-42 victory over TVC foe Belpre.

Drayer led all scorers with 22 points and also had seven rebounds and six assists. Paxton joined Drayer in double figures with 11 points to go along with five boards.

For Offenberger, it was the first game of the season, as the senior had been out with a knee injury. She made her first basket of the year early in the first quarter off an assist from Drayer to put Waterford up 4-0.

“It’s been a good four years for them,” Waterford head coach Jerry Close said of his seniors. “It’s always nice to win at home on senior night.. They’ve meant a lot to our program for four years. They’ve all been a big part of what we’ve done. They’ll be missed next year, but hopefully we got a long season ahead of us yet.”

The Wildcats have two road games remaining against South Gallia and Marietta. Should they beat South Gallia, they will clinch a share of the TVC title. After that, Waterford will look to make noise in the postseason, as it owns the second seed in Division IV Southeastern bracket.

For Belpre, Thursday’s game was the final contest of the regular season. The Golden Eagles now have their sights set on Miller in the first round of the sectional tournament Monday. Should they win, they will go on to play South Gallia.

“What I expect of our team is to come out and play like we need to play against Miller to beat them,” said Belpre head coach Scott Miller. “Then get the chance to play South Gallia who’s beaten us twice.

“We’re the underdog. We’ve got nothing to lose.”

After Offenberger’s bucket in the first period, Claudia Hall hit a free throw to make the score 4-1. After a basket by Regan Porter, Paxton hit back-to-back layups to put Waterford up 10-1. After Belpre’s Sierra Barker responded with a 3-pointer, Drayer made a bucket followed by a layup from Porter and a pair of free throws by Randee Seevers to extend the lead to 18-5.

The Wildcats scored the first 10 points of the second quarter to go up 28-7. Later, Drayer made a layup via an assist from her sister Dani Drayer. The Drayers then hit a layup apiece to go up 40-12.

In the third quarter, a steal and a layup by Lexus Cunningham cut the deficit to 48-24, but consecutive two-pointers by Brooke Drayer stretched it back to a 54-27 Waterford lead.

“Waterford is a top-notch team,” Miller lamented.

With the victory, the Wildcats are now 15-5 overall and 14-1 in the TVC. Belpre fell to 15-7 overall and 9-7 in the conference.