Prep boys basketball: Waterford falls to Wahama, 61-54

WATERFORD – The tough stretch for Waterford continues as the Wildcats fell 61-54 to Wahama Tuesday night at Waterford High School in a Tri-Valley Conference matchup.

The loss was the seventh straight for the Wildcats, who are now 4-8 on the season. Wahama improved to 5-8 with the win and has now won three straight.

While Waterford held a 21-4 advantage in the turnover margin, the White Falcons outrebounded the Wildcats 42-22 and hit on 17-of-21 free throws to 5-of-6 for Waterford.

Overall, Wahama was 19-for-47 (40 percent) from the floor while the Wildcats were 23-for-69 (33 percent).

“We had a lot of shots that didn’t fall,” said Waterford head coach Tom Simms. “We had shots that were in the cylinder and rimmed back out. We need to get a few more shots to fall but at the same time we can’t let somebody score 61 points.”

Wahama head coach Mike Wolfe was thrilled with his team’s effort.

“We talked about guys playing their roles,” Wolfe said. “We put eight guys out on the floor tonight and eight of them played their roles to a tee. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

Wyatt Porter, who had a game-high 23 points, scored the first six points of the contest for the Wildcats to give them a 6-5 advantage. Wahama’s Austin Jordan hit a 3-pointer to put the White Falcons on top before Austin Shriver responded with a trey of his own to put Waterford back on top 9-8. Shriver and Dakota Sisk then traded three-point plays before a jumper by Porter made it 14-11 Waterford at the end of one quarter.

To start the second quarter, Porter hit another mid-range jumper off an assist from Shriver to make it 16-11 before Hunter Rose and Jordan hit back-to-back 3-balls to put Wahama up 17-16.

Porter answered with another basket off an assist from Brian Moore to retake the lead.

After Rose and Moore traded buckets, Porter hit a pair of free throws to give Waterford its largest lead of the game at 24-19. Hunter Bradley hit a jumper and Sisk hit a layup before Porter made a layup off a behind-the-back pass from Eli Strahler to make it 26-23. Sisk would convert another layup to make it 26-25 at halftime.

Wahama opened up the second half on an 8-0 run, paced by 3-pointers from Jordan and Preston Hundall, to go up 33-26. Wolfe said he talked to the team about keeping its composure coming out of the break.

“The only thing we said was to continue playing composed and they did,” Wolfe explained. “We didn’t get excited or anxious and just let the offense click. Defensively, we made a lot of great plays getting to loose balls. We got to the rim. We quit settling for the outside shot and got to the rim and that helped us a lot.”

Waterford got its first second half points on a layup by Shriver, but Wahama quickly answered with a putback by Sisk. Trystan Crawford then made a bucket followed by a pair of foul shots by Strahler to cut it to 35-32. Wahama would extend its lead to 43-38 by the end of the third quarter.

Porter drained a jumper to open the fourth quarter to make it 43-40, but Jacob Ortiz and Bradley hit four straight free throws to extend the lead 47-40. Strahler then made a strong take to the basket but Ortiz responded with a putback layup to keep it at a seven-point game. Porter then connected on a 3-pointer to make it 49-45 before Wahama four straight points to make it an eight-point game.

The Wildcats were not out of it yet, however, as Moore hit a 3-ball to make it 53-48. Later, a jumper by Porter made it 54-50 before five straight points by Sisk and Ortiz put the game out of reach.

Jordan led Wahama with 19 points, while Sisk had 15 and Ortiz added 12. Joining Porter in double-digits for Waterford was Shriver with 16.

Ortiz hauled in a game-high 12 rebounds while Shriver led the Wildcats with eight boards. Strahler and Bradley each led their respective teams with five assists apiece.

Waterford will look to end its losing streak Friday when it hosts Miller.

“We’re getting better,” Simms said. “We’re doing a lot of things right. We’ve just got to keep moving up and we’ve just got to get a stop.”