Wheeling Central Boys Blast Madonna
No. 1 Knights improve their record to 8-0
WHEELING — Coach Mel Stephens’ West Virginia Class A No. 1-ranked Wheeling Central basketball team has made a living off scoring spurts early in the 2017-18 season.
It was more of the same Thursday night as the powerful Maroon Knights used runs of 15-0, 13-0, 8-0 and 9-0 to help overpower a young Weirton Madonna squad at their East Wheeling gym.
Senior Brent Price scored a game-high 21 points, including a pair of third-quarter dunks, and Wheeling Central had all 12 players dressed dent the scoring column in rolling to a 72-42 victory against the out-matched Blue Dons.
In improving to 8-0, the Knights shot 50 percent from the field (31-for-62) with most of their starters sitting out the final quarter-and-a-half of play.
“We started out with three games that we were very comfortable in but then played four tougher ones, so it was nice to get everyone some good playing time,” Stephens admitted. “The kids just went out and did what they needed to do.
“Coming in we felt we could push the ball and press them and that is exactly what we did. And most of what we did allowed Brent (Price) to get to the rim and get some open looks.
“It is never a question that teams are going to break the press once in a while, but if we are able to get our up-tempo going things are normally going to swing our way.”
An early 3-pointer from Gavin Dietrich, who finished with a team-high 18 points, knotted the count at 5-5 just over a minute into the contest. However, Central went on a 15-0 run that had Price scoring seven and Owen Gainer and Ian Georges finishing the spurt with 3s. The hosts ended the quarter with a 26-13 advantage.
With Madonna (1-6) down 32-18 midway through the second, Wheeling Central closed on a 9-0 run that had four different players scoring, including another Georges triple that made it 41-18 at the break.
The spurt grew as the Maroon Knights scored the initial four points of the third to open up a 27-point margin. After the Blue Dons tallied eight of their own, Central equaled that run and eventually settled for a 58-31 bulge after three. The advantage grew to as many as 34 twice during the final eight minutes of play.
Gainer added 12 points for the winners, while Georges finished with eight. Junior Anthony Robbins had a team-high seven rebounds as the Maroon Knights grabbed a whopping 40-19 edge off the glass.
Junior Evan Boniti backed Dietrich with 13 points off the bench in a losing effort.
“They are a team that is capable of putting a lot of points on the board quickly,” Madonna coach Chris Blair said. “And they attack you in various ways. They can spread you out and they read things very well. They are just a very tough matchup.
“I think the more we continue competing the better we will get. We broke their press some early on, but after all that stress we get in the half-court and give the ball up. We are still learning, but the bottom line is that you can’t miss as many layups and easy shots as we did against a team like that.
“They are obviously the No. 1 team in the state for a reason. We are still not seeing the floor well as a team, but we will continue working on it and start learning to attack off the dribble, not the pass.”
Wheeling Central returns to action Saturday morning at the Cancer Research Classic at Wheeling Jesuit University against a Mars, Pa., team that Stephens says, “will be a real test for us.”
Bellaire 58, Shadyside 50
SHADYSIDE — Three Bellaire players scored in double figures as it defeated Shadyside. Michaela Flaherty netted a game-high 14 points while both Katrina Davis and Natalie Stoner each had 11.
Tori Hendershot came off the bench to lead the way for the Tigers with 12 points while Syd Destifanes tallied 10.
St. Clairsville 201
Barnesville 104, Brooke 59, Union Local 16
WELLSBURG — St. Clairsville came in first place in all 11 events as it captured a victory in quad-meet with Barnesville, Brooke and Union Local.
Maggie Marody and Katelynne Davenport both tallied two individual victories for the Red Devils. Davenport won gold in the 200 freestyle (2:19.00) and 100 breastsroke (1:17.83) while Marody claimed the 200 IM (2:23.86) and 100 butterfly (1:03.94). They also were members of both the winning 200 medley (2:07.67) and 400 freestyle (4:17.02) relay teams.
St. Clairsville 200
Brooke 99, Barnesville 9
WELLSBURG — The St. Clairsville boys were just as dominate as it captured a victory against Brooke and Barnesville. Three Red Devils won two individual titles. Ethan Banks captured the 200 freestyle (2:02.19) and 100 backstroke (1:03.03) while Matthew Marling secured a win in the 50 freestyle (25.15) and 100 freestyle (56.60). Michael DiBetta swam to victory in the 100 breastsroke (1:09.79) and 100 butterfly (58.58). All three were also members of the winning 200 freestyle (1:43.68) relay and 400 freestyle relay (3:48.05) teams.