Knights Slay Dragons, 73-44
Wheeling Central nabs sectional title
MOUNDSVILLE–Wheeling Central set the tone early in Friday’s Class A Region One Section One final at the John Marshall Fieldhouse.
Three Maroon Knights reached double figures in the first half as they went on to claim a sectional title with a 73-44 win over Cameron.
Before you could blink, Central reeled off the first six points of the game behind the speed and swift passing of Brent Price, who garnered a pair of quick buckets and an assist in the first minute of action.
“I thought we came out early in the first quarter and were able to get some easy buckets,” Central coach Mel Stephens said. “We did what we needed to do early in the first.”
The Knights’ lead expanded to 23-7 at the 2:17 mark of the first behind eight points from Owen Gainer and six from Price but the Dragons refused to go away.
Zane Clutter delivered a pair of 3-pointers and teammate Travis Mickey provided a 3-point play for the Dragons, who recorded a 10-0 spurt to end the opening quarter and cut the lead to 23-17.
Stephens’ unit put an end to the Cameron momentum with an 8-0 run to start the second, which was sparked by Price, who drove the lane and drew contact on back-to-back possessions to garner a pair of 3-point plays.
The Dragons spent the rest of the second stanza playing catchup and made some progress thanks to seven points from Colby Brown.
The advantage dwindled down to nine at 37-28, when Central’s Ian Georges drained a 3 with 35 seconds remaining in the half and Price added a basket with just two seconds left on the clock to soften the halftime cushion to 42-28.
“They got off to a quick start, which is typical for them,” Cameron coach Tom Hart said. “They got some transition buckets and a couple of 3s early on and built off that.”
Price accumulated 14 points in the first half, while Georges supplied 12 and Gainer added 10. Brown turned in nine first half points for Cameron.
Both teams started slow in the second half but the Maroon Knights got clicking again at the four-minute mark with one final 10-0 charge to secure a 58-34 upperhand.
Price tacked on the finishing touches with a two-handed jam as the Knights moved on to the regionals to face St. Marys.
Price finished with 21 points, Gainer collected 15 and Georges and Cedric Williams each added 12 in the win.
“We were able to stretch out the lead at halftime,” Stephens said. “Then, we came out in the beginning of the third quarter and really executed what we wanted to do on both ends.”
The Knights also forced 18 turnovers en route to victory behind a strong defensive press.
“We wanted to pressure them into turnovers that would shorten the court,” Stephens said. “We also wanted to try to wear them down.
“They were missing Robert Milliken (Friday), who hopefully gets well and can play next week.”
Cameron, who will travel to Tyler Consolidated on Wednesday in regional action, was led by Mickey’s 14 and Brown’s 13.
“I am really proud of our kids,” Hart said. “They did not quit. They know Central is one of the best teams in the state but we are a good team, too. I am really proud of them.
“We couldn’t have had a better opponent to help us get ready for Wednesday.”