WATERFORD, Ohio — Ouch!
The Eastern boys basketball team suffered its largest setback of the season — a margin of 39 points — on Friday night in Washington County, as Waterford clinched at least a share of its second straight Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division championship with 76-37 victory over the Eagles.
The Wildcats (14-3, 13-0 TVC Hocking) — who are ranked 10th in the latest OHSAA Division IV AP Poll — outscored the Eagles (7-12, 7-7) by 20-to-8 count in the opening quarter.
Eastern — which had won four straight league games prior to Friday — found its offensive touch in the second quarter, as the Eagles scored 17 points. WHS had 23 points in the period, however, and the Wildcats led 43-25 at halftime.
Waterford pushed its advantage to 65-33 by the end of the third quarter, and finished the 76-37 victory with an 11-to-4 fourth quarter run.
The Wildcats won the rebounding battle by a decisive 42-to-19 margin, while also claiming a 16-to-6 assists advantage and a 2-to-1 edge in blocked shots. Both teams committed 19 turnovers, with the Eagles holding a 6-to-4 edge in steals.
The Green, White and Gold shot 14-of-43 (32.6 percent) from the field, including 3-of-12 (25 percent) from beyond the arc. Meanwhile, Waterford was 30-of-54 (55.6 percent) from the field, including 6-of-14 (42.9 percent) from deep.
From the charity stripe, Eastern was 6-of-14 (42.9 percent) and Waterford shot 10-of-13 (76.9 percent).
EHS senior Jett Facemyer — who posted team-highs of three rebounds and three steals — led all scorers with 23 points, on six two-pointers, two trifectas and five free throws.
Next for the Eagles were Sharp Facemyer and Garrett Barringer with three points apiece. Nate Durst, Jeremiah Martindale, Kaleb Hill and Ryan Dill each scored two points in the setback.
Waterford was led by Jordan Welch, Bryce Hilverding and Andrew Thieman with 14 points apiece. Travis Pottmeyer scored eight points in the win, Isaac Huffman and Riley Burns both chipped in with six points, while Tyler McCutcheon and Austin Pyatt added five points apiece. Noah Huffman rounded out the WHS scoring with four points.
Thieman led the victors on the glass with nine rebounds, while McCutcheon recorded a game-best four assists.
Waterford also defeated the Eagles on January 10, by a 71-46 count, in ‘The Nest’.
After a non-conference trip to Hannan on Saturday, Eastern will resume TVC Hocking play on Tuesday, when Miller visits Meigs County.
After a non-conference meeting with Warren on Saturday, Waterford will look to clinch its first outright league title since 2009, when Southern visits Washington County, on Tuesday.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.