MOUNDSVILLE - Slowly but surely, Wheeling Central, led by freshman Chase Harler, is beginning to hit its stride.
At the same time, John Marshall is a team that has had major problems putting the basketball in the hoop, with the exception of senior Evan Magers, and it is a problem that has cost the Monarchs dearly.
On Wednesday night, the two teams met and very little changed as Coach Mel Stephens' Maroon Knights continued to improve while Magers was the only major player for John Marshall (3-7) in another losing effort.
Harler scored a team-high 15 points as Wheeling Central (6-7) controlled the paint on both ends of the court, limited the Monarchs to few opportunities inside and just one free-throw attempt while turning the ball over nine times in rolling to a 53-32 victory, its fourth straight.
Neither team was able to do much out of the gate as the Knights scored the final five points of the opening quarter to settle for a 7-3 lead after one. But Central took control in the second, using a 15-6 spurt to just to a 22-9 advantage before heading for the locker room with a 26-16 lead.
John Marshall's first four field goals of the opening half were all 3-pointers, three by Magers.
The Monarchs did not get its first two-point field goal until 1:24 showed on the second quarter clock.
Not much changed in the third as the Maroon Knights scored the first seven points and eventually pushed the margin to 39-23.
The Monarchs scored 13 points in the second quarter, eight by Magers, but were held under 10 in each of the other three.
"We knew we had a defensive advantage inside and that they only have one true post," Stephens said. "So we wanted to take advantage of that and I felt we did a great job of that. One the defensive end, we really did a good job limiting them inside.
"Magers hit some pretty good shots for them, but other than that they really weren't able to get much going. Chase (Harler) also did a nice job of getting to the hoop.
For Storm, the veteran coach knows what the problem is, just not how to fix it.
"We have no post presence and have not been able to attack the basket, it has been a problem the last few games," Storm said. "We have tried some different offenses, but we just haven't been able to score. Evan (Magers) seems to be the only one who can score more than five or six points a game.
"It is very frustrating sitting here and watching it. But when you are not scoring and not getting to the foul line, you aren't going to win many."
Justin Hammers added 10 points for Central while Brandon Wallace had nine. Central owned a 30-21 edge off the glass and had the nine turnovers, while their hosts had 16.
Magers finished with a game-high 20 points, include four bonus bombs, however Derek Och's 3-pointer in the second quarter were the only other points scored by a John Marshall starter. Alex Whorton added five off the bench.