Waterford boys done
Wildcats exit in district semi
ATHENS — With a brace on his left knee, senior Wyatt Lang got the green light to go, and he put on quite a show.
But the curtain fell on Waterford High’s season as the third-seeded Wildcats suffered a 59-51 setback to second-seeded Peeples High Sunday night in an Ohio Division IV boys’ basketball semifinal game at the Ohio University Convocation Center.
The 6-foot-5 Lang, who injured his knee in the 2016 Waterford football playoffs and missed all of his junior hoops season, started this season on the hardwood but then had to stop. Against Peeples, he provided a boost off the bench, scoring a game-high 16 points in limited action.
“It was a good game by everybody, and Wyatt was given a gift by Ohio State,” said WHS head coach Tom Simms. “We found that out over the weekend, and we gave him the opportunity.
“I told him that last year when we were here (at the Convo) this year he’d get a chance to be here. We didn’t think it would happen, but Ohio State gave him the opportunity to play with his classmates and make something happen.”
Seniors’ Bryce Hilverding and Travis Pottmeyer each chipped in with 10 points for the Wildcats, who exited with a solid 15-8 record. Also playing their last game as a green and white cagers were Noah Huffman, Austin Pyatt, Teddy Smith, and Dylan Shriver.
“We’ve got a bunch of seniors (7) who’ve been together four years,” Simms said. “And, there’s a lot of good memories with this bunch.”
Peeples (19-5) was paced by Bostin Robinson’s 15 points. Tanner Arey added 13; Weston Browning, 8; Blake Hawes, 7; and Colton Ball and Wade Shively, 6 apiece.
“Peeples is a nice ballclub,” Simms said. “Arey’s a good player, and Robinson’s a nice player.”
Sparked by Lang’s six first-quarter points, Waterford staked itself to a 12-9 advantage. The Wildcats maintained the upper hand in the second period and led 25-22 at the intermission.
In the third quarter, Peeples outpointed the Cats, 20-10, and led 42-35 going into the final eight minutes of play. Helping the Indians stay on top, Shively drained two consecutive triples.
“Those couple threes that kid hit out there on the elbow gave them separation, and that was what we were fighting the whole time back,” Simms said.
Hilverding scored eight points in the fourth quarter, and Waterford was able to cut it to three, 54-51, late. But when the Cats had to foul, the Indians, who had been struggling all game at the charity stripe, made enough of them (9) to clinch the victory.
Peeples actually shot better from the field (22-42) than it did from the line (12-24).
“They did (struggle from the foul line), but then they hit them down the stretch,” Simms said.
“We just needed to get the ball to fall,” the coach said. “They played hard and did what I asked of them. No question about that.”