WATERFORD - A pair of Cats went to battle Tuesday night at Waterford High School and when it was all said and done, the Waterford Wildcats clawed their way to a 53-47 victory over the Wood County Christian Wildcats.
Waterford overcame a dismal start to edge the upset minded Wood County Christian squad.
"We came out cold and flat tonight," said Waterford head coach Tom Simms. "We just couldn't get any kind of rhythm or chemistry going early on."
Wood County Christian School came out anything but flat as it claimed the early 6-0 lead on field goals by Jamie Arnold and Patrick Goff and a pair of free-throws by Zach Hughes.
Back-to-back scores by Austin Shriver pulled Waterford to within two, but Arnold answered with a long three from behind the top of the key to increase the WCCS lead to 11-6.
"Arnold is a nice player for them," said Simms. "He handles the ball well and can also shoot the three. We were leaving him too many open shots."
Waterford 53 Wood County Christian 47
Wood County Christian 11 11 15 10 - 47
Waterford 10 17 16 10 - 53
Wood County Christian (1-6)
Luke Davis 0-1 2-2 2, Scotty Heslop 4-6 2-2 10, Isaac Brown 1-4 0-0 3, Jamie Arnold 5-21 0-0 14, Mitch Morris 0-3 0-0 0, Zach Hughes 1-2 2-2 4, Patrick Goff 6-13 2-2 14. Totals: 17-50 8-8 47.
Brian Moore 3-6 1-1 7, Eli Strahler 1-7 0-0 2, Wyatt Porter 4-14 1-2 9, Cody Paxton 5-12 0-0 10, Jacob McCutcheon 0-1 0-0 0, Austin Shriver 9-16 0-1 18, Austin Bauerbach 1-1 0-0 2, Tanner Pottmeyer 1-3 2-2 5. Totals: 24-60 4-6 53.
Team Totals: Shooting: WCC: 17-50 (34%) W: 24-60 (40%) Three Point Shooting: WCC: 5-15 (33%) (Arnold 4, Brown 1). W: 1-4 (25%) (Pottmeyer 1). Rebounds: WCC: 36 (Goff 13, Hughes 8), W: 27 (Porter 8, McCutcheon 5). Assists: WCC: 10 (Heslop 3), W: 12 (Strahler 5). Turnovers: WCC: 25, W: 16. Team Fouls: WCC: 7, W: 11.
Next Game: Waterford, Friday at Miller. Wood County Christian, Friday Elk Valley Christian in Charleston W.V.
Junior Varsity Game
Waterford 50 Wood County Christian 17
Wood County Christian Scoring: Josh Stevens 5, Logan Huck 4, Josh Morris 4, Ian Harris 2, Joseph Krupinski 2.
Waterford Scoring: Joe Pugh 11, Dakota Brooker 10, Garrett Lemasters 8, Lee Wittekind 8, Tryston Crawford 5, Luke Kern 3, Mitch Ginther 2, Montana Brooker 2, Cameron Bosner 1.
Waterford grabbed its first lead of the game early in the second quarter on back-to-back scores from Wyatt Porter and Brian Moore, but once again Arnold connected from long range to tie the score at 14-14.
After Shriver scored on a reverse lay up with an assist from Jacob McCutcheon, Wood County Christian got buckets by Goff and Scotty Heslop to retake the lead at 18-16.
"They (Wood County Christian) are always a very scrappy team," said Waterford point guard Eli Strahler, who dished out five assists in the game. "We definitely overlooked them."
Waterford finally began to develop some momentum as it strung together an 11-4 run that sent them to halftime with a 27-22 lead.
Waterford shot just 36 percent (12 of 33) in the opening half, while WCCS was even worse as it hit on seven-of-23 field goal attempts (30 percent).
The Dan Ellis-led Wood County Christian team quickly recaptured the momentum it lost at the end of the first half as both Hughes and Goff got buckets in the paint to open the second half.
Possibly realizing they had a true fight on its hands, Waterford put together its best three minutes of the game, going on a 14-2 run and appeared to be on the verge of pulling away from WCCS.
Eight of those points came from Shriver, the final of which came on an assist from Porter and gave Waterford a 41-28 lead with 2:53 to go in the third.
Once again WCC turned to Arnold, and the senior delivered two more triples to trim the green and white lead to six at 43-37 heading to the final period.
Wood County quickly closed the lead back down to three at 48-45 with two minutes to play, but a bucket from Porter and an old fashioned three-point play by Moore increased the lead to eight and put the finishing touches on a hard fought third victory of the season for Waterford.
Shriver paced all scorers in the game with 18, while Paxton added 10 for Waterford.
Paxton and the rest of the Waterford squad felt somewhat fortunate to pull out a win on a night where it did not play its best basketball.
"We were just unfocused at times," said Paxton, who connected on five-of-12 shots from the floor. "It's good to come out of here with a win."
Moore felt his team gave Wood County Christian too many opportunities to stay in the contest.
"You just can't be living on the edge," said Moore. "We underestimated them a little bit."
Arnold totaled four three-pointers and 14 points in the game, while Goff completed a nice double-double with 14 points and a game-high 13 rebounds for WCC.
The win improved Waterford's overall season record to 3-1, while the WCCS Cats fell to 1-6 overall with the setback.
Wood County Christian is scheduled to travel to Charleston Friday to take on Elk Valley Christian, while Waterford travels to Corning the same day to battle Miller in a Tri-Valley Conference contest.