WATERFORD, Ohio — While the Southern Tornadoes stayed right with the Waterford Wildcats on Tuesday night, the Wildcats — quarter by quarter —inched their way to another win.
That’s because host Waterford, in outscoring the Tornadoes by at least two points in each of the four periods, defeated Southern 63-50 in a Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division boys basketball tilt inside the Harry Cooper Annex.
The Wildcats led 13-11 following the opening quarter, overcoming the only two Tornado leads of the entire night.
Waterford then extended its advantage to double figures in the second stanza — to 26-15 and 30-18.
However, Southern scored the final six points of the half to trail just 30-24.
The Tornadoes’ Blake Johnson scored five consecutive counters — along with a Dylan Smith free throw in the final 75 seconds.
The Wildcats then won the third period 16-12, opening up a 46-36 advantage entering the fourth.
The Tornadoes, however, got to within 48-42 with five minutes and 50 seconds remaining —following a 17-foot jump shot by Trey Pickens and a knifing layup by Tylar Blevins.
But the Wildcats, which wrapped up the TVC-Hocking outright championship, put the game out of reach with 10 unanswered points.
Over the final three quarters, Waterford outscored Southern 50-39.
With the win, the Wildcats raised their record to 15-4 — and are now a perfect 14-0 in winning the TVC-Hocking.
The Tornadoes dipped to an even 10-10 —and 8-6 in the league.
Waterford, last season, split the TVC-Hocking title with Trimble.
While Waterford held a slim 19-18 advantage in total field goals, and while the Tornadoes doubled up the Wildcats in threes (6-3), the Wildcats definitely enjoyed a parade to the free-throw line.
Waterford attempted twice as many foul shots as did Southern (26-13), and made 22 with the Purple and Gold draining eight.
Southern shot 32-percent on 18-of-56, but made just six of 21 three-point attempts.
Waterford also out-rebounded the Tornadoes 45-33.
Johnson, with five total field goals including a pair of treys, paced the Tornadoes with 12 points.
Weston Thorla and Crenson Rogers recorded 10 points apiece, while Blevins bagged six points.
Smith scored four points, as Trey McNickle knocked in 3-of-4 free throws.
Smith, Thorla, Rogers and Kody Greene garnered a three-point goal apiece, as Thorla went a perfect 3-of-3 at the line.
Jordan Welch, with seven total field goals and 8-of-10 free throws, paced the Wildcats and all scorers with 23 points.
He also stuffed the stat sheet with team-highs in rebounds (11), assists (four) and blocked shots (three).
Tyler McCutcheon, on six baskets and 2-of-2 free throws, mustered 16 points — and nailed two of the Wildcats’ three threes with Welch canning the other.
Travis Pottmeyer, on three buckets and 8-of-9 free throws, posted 14.
The Tornadoes will close out the regular season on Friday night —when they host Eastern in the TVC-Hocking.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106