WATERFORD - It was all about defense for the Waterford boys basketball team Tuesday night as the Wildcats held the South Gallia Rebels to just 11 field goals on 37 attempts in a 52-40 season opening victory.
Waterford also held South Gallia to just 11 first half points, including just two in the second quarter, and forced 18 turnovers.
Senior Austin Shriver sparked the Wildcats offensively with a game-high 18 points. Shriver opened the scoring for Waterford with a 3-pointer and then a jumper to give the Wildcats a 5-0 lead.
JORDAN HOLLAND The Marietta Times
Waterford’s Brian Moore (10) looks to dribble by South Gallia defender Kody Lambert during prep basketball action Tuesday night. The Wildcats won 52-40.
"The first game of the year, I just wanted to come out and get the year started off right," Shriver said.
South Gallia's Kody Lambert got the Rebels on the board with a 3-pointer. Junior Wyatt Porter followed with a bucket to make it 7-3. Brayden Greer answered with a 3-pointer of his own to make it 7-6. Greer paced the Rebels in scoring with 17 points.
After sophomore Cody Paxton connected on a shot to make it 9-6, Greer struck again to tie the game at 9-9 at the end of the first quarter.
Waterford 52, South Gallia 40
South Gallia 9 2 13 16 - 40
Waterford 9 14 14 15 - 52
Brian Moore 0 0-6 0, Eli Strahler 2 1-2 5, Wyatt Porter 5 1-1 11, Cody Paxton 2 0-2 4, Jacob McCutcheon 1 1-2 3, Austin Shriver 7 3-5 18, Tanner Pottmeyer 5 0-2 10. Totals 22 6-19 52.
South Gallia (1-1)
Landon Hutchinson 1 2-6 4, Brayden Greer 4 6-7 17, Carl Johnston 0 0-0 0, Michael Wheeler 0 2-2 2, Clifford Stapleton 0 0-0 0, Trevor Slone 0 1-2 1, Kody Lambert 4 1-3 11, Ethan Swain 2 0-0 5. Totals 11 12-20 40.
Shooting: W: 22-49 (45%), SG: 11-37 (30%); Rebounds: W: 26 (Moore, Porter 6), SG: 15 (Greer, Wheeler 4); Assists: W: 13 (Moore 4); Steals: W: 17 (Shriver 4); Turnovers: W: 11, SG: 18.
JV score: Waterford 45, South Gallia 6
Next games: Waterford at Southern at 6 p.m. Tuesday; Southern at South Gallia Friday.
The second quarter was where the Tom Simms-led squad pulled away. The Wildcats outscored South Gallia 14-2 in the quarter, led by 10 points from Shriver, including a 3-pointer at the buzzer to make it 23-11 at halftime.
The Wildcats scored the first five points of the second half, four of them coming from sophomore Tanner Pottmeyer, to make it 28-11. Later, with Waterford up 32-22, junior Eli Strahler scored consecutive buckets to make it 36-21.
Waterford continued to apply pressure throughout the fourth quarter. Every time South Gallia made a basket, Waterford was able to answer.
The Wildcats dominated every statistical category, out-rebounding the Rebels 26-15 and winning the turnover battle 11-18.
Waterford was 45 percent from the floor on 22-for-49 shooting.
"We played alright," Simms said. "There's a lot of things to work on."
Senior Brian Moore didn't score but led the team with four assists and tied Porter for the lead with six rebounds.
"We've just got to come out and play good defense," said Moore, looking ahead at the remainder of the season. "That's gonna be our big key. We're not the biggest. We're just gonna have to run and play good defense and scoring will come."
Strahler, who had five points and three steals, also sees room for improvement.
"We definitely need to get slower on offense," Strahler said. "And we need to slow down on defense. We can't poke at the ball."
The win gives Waterford a 1-0 record, while Larry Howell-coached South Gallia drops to 1-1. Waterford's next game was originally scheduled for Friday at Wahama, but that game has been rescheduled. The Wildcats will now be back in action Tuesday at Southern in another Tri Valley Conference tilt.
Waterford's junior varsity squad was victorious by a whopping 39 points, winning 45-6.