Zimmerman had the Thunder, but it was Waterville-Elysian-Morristown that stormed back from a 35-23 deficit early in the 2nd half to win 61-58.
Waterville shot a respectable 47 percent in the 1st half, yet Zimmerman's very active man defense created havoc in the form of 16 Buccaneers' turnovers. Waterville continually challenged the paint on the dribble drive, and Zimmerman consistently got their hands on the ball. So WEM got off only 19 FG attempts to 27 for the Thunder. And Zimmerman made 52 percent of its shots in the 1st half.
A late 3 by Brandon Giese sent the Thunder into the locker room with all of the momentum and a 33-23 lead.
Waterville turned it around, emphatically so, in the 2nd half. Point guard Grant Pope had had a tough time in the 1st half with 3 points and 4 assists, but 5 turnovers. He was able to give vastly better direction to the WEM offense in the 2nd half, scoring 6 points with 3 more assists, 3 steals and just 2 turnovers. Waterville was suddenly getting much better looks at the basket and shooting in rhythm, where in the 1st half their shots had seemed hurried. So now the Buccaneers shooting percentage soared to 62 percent (13-of-21) and the turnovers dropped from 16 to 6.
WEM scored on 10-of-its-1st-15 possessions of the 2nd half to tie it up at 44-all. A Jordan Gregor lay-up at 10:05 gave them a 46-44 lead, their 1st since 9-8. WEM would led by as many as 4, but Zimmerman took back the lead at 52-51, 54-53 and 58-56. But the Buccaneers scored the last 5 points on 2 FT by Tate Harmon, a Pope jumper and a FT by Conrad Masberg.
Zimmerman missed 3 3s inside of 12 seconds, as Harmon got a piece of the 3rd at the buzzer.
The Thunder played 2 platoons, making mass 5-man substitutions from time to time. The 1st platoon scored 33 points, led by Blake Ehley's 17, while the 2nd 5 scored 25 points, led by Jake Wilson's 12. It looked at times as if WEM was tiring against the fresh legs of the Thunder but in the late going that proved not to be the case.
Harmon finished with 23 points, Masburg 16, and Pope with 9 p0ints and those 7 vital assists.
Trench Player: Harmon