Eagles And ‘Cats Claim OVAC Consolation
The Magnolia and Paden City boys basketball teams fell in the OVAC semi-finals, while Valley and River high schools both fell in consolation games.
St. Clairsville 60,
Jared Blatt led the Blue Eagles with a team-high 15 points, but couldn’t overcome the loss of ailing starters Andrew Robinson and Josh Yost and sustained a 60-55 loss in the OVAC AAA semifinal game to the St. Clairsville Red Devils in St. Clairsville Feb. 17.
The second seed Red Devils took a 16-13 lead after one period, but the Blue Eagles took a 22-19 lead in the second frame.
However, the Red Devils would string together an eight-point run to take a 26-20 advantage with them into the locker room.
The Red Devils continued their blitz and jumped out to as much as a 10-point advantage. However, Magnolia fought to a slim 33-31 lead with eight minutes remaining in regulation.
The Devils went up as much as 11 points late in the fourth period, but Mason Rine came off the bench and drilled three threeballs to keep the Blue alive.
But, the Devils had too much fire power and slipped into the OVAC Class AAA Championship against Union Local, leaving the Eagles to host the Oak Glen Golden Bears for third place in Class AAA.
Robinson didn’t make the trip to St. Clairsville because of the flu. Yost sat on the bench much of the game with flu-like symptoms.
Blatt had another double-double 15 points and 14 rebounds, while Traeh Keller added 11 points. Mason Rine scored all nine of his points off the bench late in the game, while Jon Rine and Andy Huggins delivered up six points each. Matt Sapp added four points and six steals in the Blue’s cause.
St. Clairsville’s Dan Slavik tallied a game-high 22 points, while teammate Ryan Jarvis netted 16 for the hosts Devils.
Oak Glen 61
The Magnolia Blue Eagles were like cats on a hot tin roof during the first 12 minutes of the Eagles’ Feb. 21 78-61 thrashing of Oak Glen to finish third in the OVAC Class AAA tournament at New Martinsville.
Sapp ignited a 10-0 scoring run, with eight of those points coming before the Bears dented the scoreboard again at 15-7 early in the first quarter.
Magnolia scored 17 straight points during the next five minutes to take a 27-point lead at 40-13. That effort was aided by a pair of baskets from beyond the arc from Sapp and Keller and one by Jordan Moore.
Sapp continued his hot shooting in the second period with a trio of three point baskets, but the Bears started to heat up and pulled to within 21 points at the break.
The Oak shaved the Eagles’ margin to 15 points with one period to go with the score 55-40, Magnolia.
The Eagles responded to Head Coach Dave Tallman’s plea to grasp that wash rag and squeeze all the water out of it. And they did, as Magnolia made 15 of their 19 free throws in the fourth to squelch any rally from Oak Glen.
Sapp was 8-11 shooting from the floor, including five triples and 7-8 from the charity stripe to lead Magnolia scoring, while adding one assist, five rebounds, and five steals.
Jon Rine made life difficult for the Bears as well, scoring 15 points. Rine played an intense defensive role with four steals, six boards, and three assists.
Magnolia also had help from Blatt, who tallied 11 markers and hauled in eight boards. He added three assists, one block, and a steal in the Blue Eagle cause.
Keller swished the cords for nine points, added three boards, and an assist from the guard position.
Yost and Robinson, both recuperating from the flu, teamed for 11 points. Robinson dished off a game-high six assists, while Yost pulled down five rebounds. Moore ended the night with four tallies, including a three ball.
Paden City 43
After splitting wins during the season at each others’ home courts, the Bridgeport Bulldogs and the Paden City Wildcats were matched up in a quarterfinal OVAC Class A game in Bridgeport.
Just the week before, the Bulldogs took a bite out of the Wildcats to help claim the second seed in the OVAC tournament and got to host a first round game against Paden City.
Knowing that the home team has won each game during the season, it appeared that it would be the case again. And it was, with Bridgeport prevailing 52-43 to move on to the championship game against Bishop Donahue.
Meanwhile, the Wildcats moved to a third-place contest against the Cameron Dragons at Bob Burton Gymnasium.
Wildcat Josh Bennett nailed down three triples in the first quarter to guide the Wildcats to a 13-12 lead after one period of play. But, the Bulldogs tallied the next eight points, six of which came by way of second chance shots. And instead of heading into the locker room with the lead, the Wildcats fell behind five points at the break, 24-19.
When play resumed, Bridgeport went on a 13-5 run to pull way ahead, while the ‘Cats were licking their wounds hitting on only 2-10 shots, including 0-4 from beyond the arc.
The ‘Cats closed the gap to 48-41 on a Ricky Wright triple, but a couple more easy buckets from Bridgeport would hold off a late Wildcat rally and propel the ‘Dogs to the finals.
Meanwhile, the ‘Cats would face Cameron, a team that has beaten the ‘Cats during the season.
Wright paced the ‘Cats with 11 points, including three baskets from beyond the arc, and Malakai Anderson contributed 10 points that also included a basket from beyond the arc.
Bennett and Ryan Thoburn each netted six markers, while Wes Cosper netted five.
Paden City 63,
Fred King’s Wildcats may have felt things couldn’t get any worse after losing five games in a row.
However, things only got better, as Paden City saw the light of day during a Friday night contest against the Cameron Dragons.
It was the third game of the season between the teams, this one a Class A OVAC consolation game.
In previous contests, Cameron walked away with wins by three and four points, but this game had anything but a similar result.
Paden City used a barrage of three-point baskets to overwhelm the Dragons, hitting 10 in the game. Nine of them came from seniors Thoburn and Wright, playing in their last game at Bob Burton Gymnasium, as the duo almost equaled Cameron’s entire gamepoints.
The ‘Cats started early, scoring the first eight points of the game. Thoburn opened the game with a three, followed by a basket with an assist from Cosper, also a senior. Wright then hit a three-pointer from the right wing to make the score 8-0.
Baskets by Anderson and Bennett bumped up the lead even more to 12-0, forcing Cameron to call timeout.
The Dragons would finally get some offense in, but Thoburn continued his excellent performance, scoring seven more points to end the quarter with 12 and giving his team a 19-8 advantage.
The second quarter was more favorable to Cameron, but it seemed as though every time they scored, Paden City would answer, eventually taking a 34-18 lead at the half.
In the third quarter, Paden City systematically controlled the ball before waiting for the perfect shot opportunity to arrive.
The ‘Cats may not have scored as many field goals as in the previous two quarters, but when they did, they made them count. (Paden City rang up four baskets in the third period, five in the second, and eight in the first.)
Bennett started things off with a three and Wright ended it, also with the bonus bomb. Thoburn was responsible for the middle with a deuce and a triple.
The fourth period was easily controlled by the Wildcats, as they put on one final show before the home crowd, scoring a total of 18 points.
The lead would go as high as 23 before King called off the dogs, taking his seniors out to the applause of the fans.
As the final buzzer sounded, Paden City once again was in the win column with a 63-37 victory.
Thoburn finished with 20 points and nine rebounds, while Wright contributed 17 markers. Bennett reached double figures with 10 points and eight rebounds.
Anderson tossed in eight tallies, while dishing out 11 assists and four steals.
Cosper and Ronnie Blatt both scored four points for the home team.
Overall, it was one of Paden City’s better shooting nights, shooting 57.9 percent (22-38) from the field and 81.8 percent (9-11) from the charity stripe.
“Five guys walk out of this gym tonight with a lot of good memories. Four of them were here for four years,” said Head Coach Fred King.
“The first time they played in this gym they were 14 year old, scared to death playing 18 year olds and getting beat up.
“This is the difference. It’s nice. I told them to go back there and look through those windows, look at that score, and remember the last basket you scored and where it was from.
“That way they have a nice memory because for the first two years they took a few beatings, but the last two we gave out a few, so I’m happy.”
The Caldwell Redskins outscored the Valley Lumberjacks 16-9 in the first quarter and never looked back in wining 55-43 in the opener of the OVAC Consolation game in Pine Grove, Feb. 17.
Ronald Morris led the ‘Jacks with 12 points, including one bucket from beyond the arc, while Garrett Ueltschy and Alex Henderson each added nine points for the Lumberjacks. Coleman Ueltschy contributed seven points, including 5-5 from the charity stripe. Matt Poling and Bryan Anderson each netted two points for the home-standing Lumber-jacks.
St. John 51
Valley swished 15 free throws in the final period, en route to a 57-51 victory over Bellaire St. John in the OVAC Consolation game in Pine Grove, Feb. 20.
Morris scored 12 of his game-high 18 points in the pivotal fourth period to help Valley gain a repeat victory over St. John.
After falling behind 15 points six minutes into the third period, the ‘Jacks began to climb back into the contest in the fourth frame with some clutch shooting (15-19) and excellent free throw attempts.
Morris and Alex Henderson scored 24 of the ‘Jacks’ 28 fourth-period points to help seal the victory.
Morris, who fouled out with two minutes remaining in the game, finished with 18 points and nine rebounds, while Henderson added 10 points to lead the ‘Jacks. Coleman Ueltschy tallied eight markers, while Jeremiah Burch and Garrett Ueltschy each netted seven. Clay Ueltschy scored four points and Matt Poling added a three-point bucket and created numerous turnovers with his defensive pressure.
The Lumberjack defense came alive in the second half and shut down St. John and forced 28 turnovers to help aid the Valley fourth period comeback.
Tyler Jeffers scored 20 points and hauled in a dozen boards, but it wasn’t enough as Toronto beat the River Pilots 59-42 in the OVAC Consolation Pool.
The Pilots jumped out on top 16-10, but Toronto turned it around and knotted the game at 26 heading into the locker room. Toronto again outscored the Pilots 16-6, but the Pilots couldn’t reverse it.
River had only four players dent the scoreboard, with Jeffers leading the way with 20 points. Kerry Wichterman added eight points, six by way of three point bombs, while Jordan Potts and Jamie Brown each netted five tallies.
River 61 ,
The Pilots blasted the Weirton Madonna Blue Dons 61-30 in the OVAC Consolation pool Feb. 20 at Madonna.
The Pilot offense scored 14 first-quarter points, while their defense yielded only a free throw to take a commanding lead. Madonna fought back and played the Pilots even in the second period, but still found themselves down 13 at the break.
River tallied 19 points in the third period to increase its advantage to 49-21 and to hold their hosts to nine points in the final period.
Dylan Potts led all-scorers with 21 points, while Jeffers added 17 to outscore the Blue Dons.
Other Pilots contributing points in the effort included Jordan Potts with nine; Taylor Potts with five; Jamie Brown, Matt Stalder, and Tyler Stewart each with two points; and Sammy Ramsier with a free throw.