When Waterville junior Jake Neff covered sports before he stepped up to varsity teams this year, he would bestow a Beast of the Game on a player who gave an all-out effort.
In the Indians boys basketball game at Westmoreland last Friday, Neff was lead Beast as Waterville put together a solid four quarters for a 60-52 win over the Bulldogs that snapped a six-game losing streak. Waterville takes a 4-7 record into this week.
The Bulldogs - coming off a loss at Mount Markham that resulted in three people removed from the gym, including their coach - might have thought playing Waterville would end their two-game losing streak. After all, 51 percent of the Indians scoring so far this year was on the bench unable to play.
Freshmen Cole Pearsall and Tyson Maxam had combined for 323 of Waterville’s 627 points coming into the game. Pearsall is expected to be back from illness this week, but Maxam with 208 points and closing in on his 500th point since last year, is out with an injury.
Not only did Neff step in as a starter and put together a career-high of 21 points and 6 rebounds, but Devin Barnes scored four of his baskets by making good by rebounding a teammate’s miss. He and Darren Johnson both had 5 assists.
Point guard Connor Marriott scored a season-high 18 points, handed out 4 assists and had 9 rebounds as well.
Waterville came out blazing, with Johnson scoring then assisting Barnes on his first basket after Marriott drove up the middle for a 6-0 lead.
Neff scored back-to-back baskets, one off his first rebound of the game, but the Bulldogs ran off a 6-0 run of their own to tie the game at 10 after one quarter.
The Indians struggled with turnovers and that allowed Westmoreland to take a 16-0 lead as they ran their run to 12 straight points. Johnson hit a fader to change the score for Waterville.
Marriott’s 3-pointer pulled Waterville to within 19-15, then Neff’s putback made it a two-point game.
Westmoreland ran it up to 23-17 before Barnes scored off an offensive rebound. Neff then went on a...