Wheeling Central Defeats St. Clairsville

Photo by Seth Staskey Wheeling Central’s Cedric Williams controls the ball while St. Clairsville’s Craig Bober (2) and Kaden Blomquist defend.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Wheeling Central and St. Clairsville went toe-to-toe like a pair of heavyweight boxers for three-and-a-half quarters Wednesday night before the Maroon Knights delivered the knockout punch in the final four minutes.

The teams were deadlocked at 63 before the visitors went on a 16-5 run to end the game and stretch their season-opening unbeaten streak to five with a 79-68 decision before a standing-room-only crowd inside John Jenkins Court.

“It was a really good high school game. They (St. Clairsville) played well,” veteran Wheeling Central coach Mel Stephens said. “They presented us with some (matchup) problems, especially in the paint, but in the fourth quarter we made a couple of plays. Once we got the lead we got a couple of big stops and that enabled us to hang onto the ball and forced them to foul.

“We made enough plays at the end when we needed to.”

With the victory, the Maroon Knights (5-0) continued their dominance of the Red Devils (5-2). The West Virginians have won 12 of the 13 contests and have not lost to St. Clairsville since Dec. 19, 1964.

“Is that right? Wow,” Stephens said when alerted to the aforementioned fact. “I wasn’t aware of that, but that’s kind of nice because they are a good team year-in and year-out. It’s good to get a win against them.”

Both teams got out of the gate early as they were knotted at 23 after eight minutes and it was 40-all at the break.

Wheeling Central led by six at one point in the first quarter, and by seven in the second only to watch St. Clairsville rally each time to draw even.

Senior Kaden Blomquist gave the Red Devils their biggest lead of the contest, 48-44 early in the third stanza as he buried back-to-back three-pointers from the right corner before scoring on the inside.

They were up 55-53 before the Maroon Knights’ Brent Price took over. He connected on consecutive bonus bombs from way out that gave his team a 59-58 edge. His two-handed throwdown in the final second made it 61-60 after three quarters.

Anthony Robbins, an athletic 6-foot-3 junior, scored half of his dozen points in the deciding stretch. He also added four rebounds in the same span.

“When they have a guy hitting 24-foot shots with a hand in his face, there’s not much you can do about that,” St. Clairsville coach Kim Clifford said. “He had one or two deep, contested shots.

“You can’t make any mistakes when teams are efficient like that. Both teams were efficient for a long time.”

“This was a good test for us coming off the John Glenn game in the Buckeye 8 last Saturday,” Stephens said. “It’s games like this that get us ready for our postseason. We had a couple of games earlier in the season that weren’t very well contested, and we didn’t get much out of those games. Tonight was a good test.”

St. Clairsville shot 23-of-42 from the field through three quarters, but a 3 for 14 showing in the final eight minutes did the Red Devils in.

“Some of the shots that were going in didn’t go in,” Clifford said. “I told the kids afterwards that the team that makes shots down the stretch usually wins. They made some shots and got some run-outs on us.”

Price led Wheeling Central, the top-rated Class A team in the state, with 26 points, 18 of them coming after the half and 14 of those in the third quarter as he kept his team close. Owen Gainer added 17, but 15 of those came in the first half — 11 in the first quarter. Robbins grabbed a team-best 11 rebounds as Wheeling Central led 39-31 off the glass. Cedric Williams had a solid game with eight markers and seven boards.

Blomquist netted a team-leading 22 points, one better than Bober, who also charted nine rebounds.

St. Clairsville had one more turnover at 16-15.

River 76, Paden City 37

PADEN CITY — Cody Hupp tallied a team-high 20 points as River defeated Paden City. The Pilots scored 26 points in the first quarter en route to victory. John Murphy was also solid for the Pilots with 14 points while James Hendershot had 11.

For the Wildcats (2-4), Ethan Cross led the way with 11 points while Matt Saxon had 10.

Tyler Consolidated 73, Magnolia 69

NEW MARTINSVILLE — Four Tyler Consolidated players scored in double figures as it edged Magnolia. Griffin Phillips tallied 20 points to lead the way for the Silver Knights while Nate Lancaster had 16. Mark Rucker and Ty West both secured 10 points to round out the double figure scorers.

Leo Herrick led the way for the Blue Eagles (1-5) with a game-high 36 points as he drained five 3-pointers while Garrett Babe had 14 and Demarco Smith netted 10.

Oak Glen 84, Beaver Local 56

NEW CUMBERLAND — Ethan Travis secured a game-high 25 points as Oak Glen defeated Beaver Local. Chris Kokoski was solid with 16 points for the Golden Bears while Jarrett Gittings secured 12. Marcus Poling rounded out the double-figure scorers with 10 points.

For the Beavers, Zach Pappas tallied 16 points while Luke Chetock had 15.

South Harrison 64, Valley 53

PINE GROVE — Brent Barnette tallied 25 points as South Harrison defeated Valley. Nick Fenstermacher had 19 points for the Hawks while Logan Peck netted 11.

For the Lumberjacks Avery Kinkade led the way with 13 points while Peyton Bassett had 12. Levi Streets contributed with 11 points and Tyler Kocher netted 10.

Bellaire 57, Barnesville 55

BELLAIRE — Chase Yoho hit four 3-pointers en route to 20 points as Bellaire edged Barnesville. Mason Ramsay was also solid for the Big Reds as he compiled 18 points.

For the Shamrocks, Aaron Marovich had 19 points, Luke Powell netted 16 and Jared Kernen had 10.