Maroon Knights Win Battle of Unbeatens

Wheeling Central Hands Trinity First Loss, 64-48

Photo by Kyle Lutz Wheeling Central’s Owen Gainer goes up for a bucket while Trinity’s Caleb Jenkins (15) and Daniel Woods defend during Saturday’s game.

WHEELING — Wheeling Central is battle-tested. No doubt about that.

A brutal week that has seen the Maroon Knights with victories against John Glenn, St. Clairsville and Cameron concluded Saturday with unbeaten Trinity Christian.

And like the all the previous opponents, the Warriors ended up on the wrong side of the score.

Wheeling Central held a double-digit lead for most of Saturday’s Undo’s Tournament championship and used an 11-0 run between the end of the third quarter and beginning of the fourth to help secure the trophy with a 64-48 victory at Wheeling Jesuit University.

“Quality opponent and we knew we were going to have to shoot the ball well,” Wheeling Central coach Mel Stephens said. “We didn’t really shoot the ball well (Friday night against Cameron) and I think they were anxious to get back out there and play a little bit better.

“I told them at halftime, the first possession of the game, that when we played defense for 43 seconds and held them without a bucket, that told me we were ready to play (Saturday night).”

Trinity entered with a 6-0 record and came off a 72-45 thumping of Madonna in a semifinal. Against Wheeling Central (7-0), though, the Warriors never lead.

Trinity did a good job of keeping standout Brent Price out of the lane for most of the night. Price had just two baskets in the paint with his other two buckets coming from 3-point land.

He finished with 14 points.

Where the Warriors struggled was trying to contain the hot hand of senior sharpshooter Owen Gainer.

Gainer was on fire all night, scoring a game-high 25 points with five 3-pointers. He had 10 points in the first quarter.

“Everyone knows Owen and Brent are going to be our two guys and they do a lot of other things besides score,” Stephens said. “I thought our post guys — Cedric Williams had a great game (10 points) and Anthony (Robbins) gives us a lot of energy off the boards (team-high nine rebounds). Those two guys might not show up in the box score all the time, but they make huge plays for us. Bray Price only had three points, but a couple of the plays he made where he drove the ball and drew the defense and got other guys easy buckets. Those plays all add up.”

Wheeling Central took its first double-digit lead at the end of the first quarter on a Robbins basket that made it 20-10. The Maroon Knights were able to maintain that advantage for most of the game, never letting Trinity get too close.

Joseph Zini hit a conventional three-point play in the third quarter to trim the Trinity deficit to 47-39. That’s when Wheeling Central turned it on and put the game away.

Gainer had seven points in the run, including a 3-pointer at the end of the quarter.

“That is how we have been,” Stephens said. “Basketball is a game of runs. They made a run at us and we answered it. Once we got out there a little bit, we went zone and were able to slow them down and get a longer possession. We slowed it down on offense and tried to take some time off the clock.”

Zini paced the Warriors with 15 points, followed by Caleb Jenkins (14) and Daniel Woods (10).

Brent Price, Gainer and Williams were named to the All-Tournament Team.

Consolation Game

Cameron 68, Madonna 48

WHEELING — Colby Brown tallied 17 points to lead the way for Cameron as it defeated Madonna. Noah Neely was solid for the Dragons as he netted 10 points.

For the Blue Dons, Tony Sellitti tallied a team-high 14 points.

Regular Season

Bridgeport 63, Monroe Central 42

BRIDGEPORT–Macrea Doyle tallied 17 points to lead the way for Bridgeport as defeated Monroe Central. Trevonn Ray was solid for the Bulldogs as he bucketed 15.

For the Seminoles, Zac Jones secured 16 points while Ryan Lafollette netted 12.

Meadville 59, Brooke 46

WELLSBURG — Justin Shelton tallied 10 points to lead the way for Brooke as it fell to Meadville.