RACINE, Ohio — The Tornadoes may not have pulled off the upset, but they certainly gave the Wildcats a scare.
The Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division leading Waterford boys basketball team — which is ranked eighth in the latest AP Division IV State Boys Basketball Poll — had its fourth quarter lead cut to three points on Tuesday night in Racine, but the Wildcats finished strong and took the 68-53 victory over host Southern.
The Tornadoes (6-6, 5-3 TVC Hocking) stormed out of the gates, taking an 18-10 lead by the end of the first period. However, Waterford (8-3, 8-0) answered with a 22-to-5 second quarter run and took a 32-23 lead into the break.
The Wildcats outscored Southern 18-to-16 in the third period, giving the guests a 50-39 lead with eight minutes to play. In the fourth quarter, Southern trimmed the WHS lead to one possession, but the Wildcats surged to the 68-53 victory.
The Tornadoes were outrebounded by a 30-to-25 count, with Waterford also claiming the turnover battle by a 14-to-10 clip.
The Purple and Gold shot 19-of-44 (43.2 percent) from the field, including 7-of-19 (36.8 percent) from three-point range. Meanwhile, the Wildcats were 25-of-51 (49 percent) from the field, including 9-of-20 (45 percent) from deep.
Southern was led by Crenson Rogers and Weston Thorla with 13 points apiece, followed by Dylan Smith with 11 and Tylar Blevins with nine. Trey Pickens and Blake Johnson rounded out the SHS scoring with four and three points respectively.
Rogers led the Tornadoes on the glass with seven rebounds, while Blevins led the way with five of the team’s 12 assists.
Travis Pottmeyer led the Wildcats with 24 points, followed by Tyler McCutcheon with 18. Isaac Huffman scored nine points, Riley Burns chipped in with eight, Jordan Welch added four, while Bryce Hilverding scored three points and Cody Harris scored two points.
The Tornadoes will look to avenge this setback on February 14, when these teams meet at WHS.
Southern returns to action on Friday, when it visits Miller.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.