Waterford hangs on
Armstrong's 22 helps Waterford down Belpre, 54-51
WATERFORD — Freshman Jarrett Armstrong tallied 10 of his game-high 22 points in the fourth quarter and host Waterford stopped a four-game slide by holding off Belpre, 54-51, in a Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division showdown here Friday night inside Harry Cooper Annex.
The Golden Eagles (6-7, 3-3) of head coach Tyler Leasure, who were paced by Connor Baker’s 17 points, six rebounds and three steals, had a three-game winning streak snapped as BHS returns to action when Nelsonville-York invades Tuesday.
Waterford’s press caused the Golden Eagles plenty of problems in the first quarter as the hosts were able to build a 16-6 cushion. Belpre only trailed 7-6 following a lay-in by Evan Wells at the 3:59 mark, but the Wildcats ended the frame with two 3s from Armstrong and one by Luke Teters, who had nine counters.
Jude Huffman, who came off the bench to score six points and grab eight boards, made it 22-14 with 1:43 let in the first half following a putback. A field goal by Teters kept the hosts ahead by 10 at the break, 27-17.
Belpre found itself trailing by 14 early in the third as Wade Smith and Teters both scored inside on the baseline.
However, the Golden Eagles got two baskets apiece by Jordan Harrington, Dylan Cox and Baker along with one from Ashton Yeater to trim the deficit to 39-32 after three.
Jacob Huffman, who finished with eight points, six boards, three assists and a game-high seven steals, got a swipe and a layup with 5:42 to go as the hosts still led 43-37.
The visitors continued to fight and after a putback and a trifecta from Baker, Cox scored in the paint to give Belpre its first lead of the game at 48-47 with 2:11 remaining.
Holden Dailey, who like Armstrong was playing just his third game of the campaign, proceeded to tie it with a foul shot 54 seconds later. Armstrong then had a putback with 54 ticks showing on the scoreboard and he followed with a pair of charity stripe tosses to make it 52-48.
Coach Leasure then watched Wells assist on a Harrington corner 3 in front of the Golden Eagles’ bench to make it 52-51 with 28.3 to go. Despite a steal by Baker, his shot and Yeater’s field goal attempt were off the mark. Armstrong canned two more freebies with 2.8 left and a desperation heave by Yeater was no good at the buzzer.
“Get off the slide, just get some confidence going,” remarked WHS head man Tom Simms after the triumph. “We knew Baker is a stud. I told them at halftime he’s going to take over the game and you’d better be ready to play and that’s what he did.
“He literally put the ball in his hands and said ‘I’m going to control the game’ but we persevered, weathered the storms and knocked the foul shots down.”
Armstrong, who was a carom shy of a double-double, made all six of his attempts in the fourth and finished 10 of 12. WHS was 15 of 22 from the line and the Golden Eagles went 8 of 15.
“He works on his game,” coach Simms said of Armstrong. “He works hard on his game and he’s just shown some things and in practice he didn’t shy away so we thought ‘OK, it’s time, let’s find out’ and he’s answering the call.”
Yeater finished with nine points, Harrington had eight and Dailey seven.
Waterford (3-4, 2-2) welcomes in Eastern on Saturday and Simms is hoping the Wildcats can get on a roll.
“Again, it’s the fact we still have to get that chemistry and we still got to get them mixing together,” added the coach. “We’re running eight guys and usually I run six and we’re running eight and they just got to get used to each other.
“Once we get playing and they get used to each other we’ll be good. We’ll see how it goes. I told them we got a lot of basketball in front of us and take it a game at a time. We’ll be all right. We’ll get better.”
Contact Jay Bennett at firstname.lastname@example.org