MASON, W.Va. — A near-perfect end to an otherwise perfect season.
Visiting Waterford shot 53 percent from the field, had nine players reach the scoring column and led the final 29:42 of regulation while completing an unbeaten league championship run Tuesday night during an 82-46 decision over the Wahama boys basketball team in the Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division finale for both teams at Gary Clark Court in Mason County.
The host White Falcons (8-12, 7-9 TVC Hocking) led only once in the entire contest as Randy Lantz scored a basket with 6:35 left in the opening canto, but the Wildcats (17-4, 16-0) responded with 11 consecutive points and hit six of their next seven shot attempts en route to establishing a 16-6 edge with 3:03 left before ultimately securing a 24-16 first quarter advantage.
The Red and White were never closer the rest of the way, and Waterford continued scorching the nets after hitting four of its first seven shots while building a 33-19 lead with 5:24 remaining in the half.
Wahama — which committed five turnovers in the second frame — pulled back to within 13 points after a Lantz free throw, but the Green and White reeled off eight consecutive points while taking their largest first half lead at 41-20 with 19 second left.
Lantz added another free throw 10 seconds later, which cut the Wahama deficit down to 41-21 entering the break.
The White Falcons committed seven turnovers in the third period, which aided the Wildcats during a 27-12 charge that resulted from a 9-of-14 effort from the field. The guests owned a 68-33 edge headed into the finale.
Wahama pulled to within 29 points (75-46) following a free throw by Travis Kearns with 3:16 remaining, but Waterford closed regulation with seven straight points to wrap up the 36-point outcome — which also proved to be the largest lead of the game.
The Wildcats, with the win, clinched their first outright title since the 2008-09 campaign while also earning at least a share of the program’s third title in four years. Waterford also claimed a season sweep with an 82-40 win in the first contest in Washington County back on January 3.
The Green and White outrebounded the White Falcons by a 29-21 overall margin, which included a 9-3 edge on the offensive glass. Waterford committed six of its 11 turnovers in the fourth quarter, while the hosts finished the evening with 18 giveaways.
The Red and White connected on 16-of-45 field goal attempts for 36 percent, including an 8-of-21 effort from behind the arc for 38 percent. Wahama was also 6-of-12 at the free throw line for 50 percent.
Philip Hoffman led the White Falcons with a double-double effort of 17 points and 12 rebounds, followed by Kearns and Jacob Lloyd with seven markers apiece.
Lantz was next with six points and Abram Pauley added five markers. Mason Hildreth rounded out the home tally with four points.
The Wildcats netted 29-of-55 total field goal attempts, including a 10-of-20 effort from three-point territory for 50 percent. The guests were also 13-of-20 at the charity stripe for 65 percent.
Jordan Welch paced Waterford with a game-high 31 points and a team-best nine rebounds. Travis Pottmeyer was next with 12 points, while Bryce Hilverding and Tyler McCutcheon respectively added nine and seven markers.
Noah Huffman and Andrew Thieman each contributed six points, while Riley Burns and Austin Pyatt chipped in four points apiece. Isaac Huffman completed the winning tally with three markers.
Welch’s monster night included 11 first quarter points and 15 markers in the third stanza. He was also 11-of-16 from the field and went 6-of-10 at the foul line, as well as going 4-of-6 shooting from behind the arc in a shade over three quarters of work.
Wahama will conclude its regular season schedule on Friday night when it travels to Point Pleasant for a non-conference matchup between Mason County programs.
The White Falcons begin Class A postseason play on Monday when they host Calhoun County at 7 p.m.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.
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