Hawks Throttle Patriots
MORGANTOWN — Defeating an opponent three times in a season can be a daunting task.
West Virginia Class AAA’s top ranked University Hawks had no trouble completing that chore.
University drained 10 3-pointers in the first half and handed visiting Wheeling Park a convincing 108-69 setback on Tuesday night in the OVAC 5A semifinal.
The 108 points allowed by the Patriots are the most given up in team history.
“They are an exceptional team,” Park coach Michael Jebbia said. “We’ve shown that we can play with them earlier this season but it just wasn’t going to happen (Tuesday). Not with the first quarter that they had.”
University’s third win over Park this season earns them an appearance in Saturday’s OVAC championship against Morgantown at OUE at noon.
“This feels great,” University coach Joe Schmidle said. “The kids knew how important (Tuesday’s) game was and I knew they were ready to play. They were well-rested and had a week off. They wanted to come to the gym this weekend and I wouldn’t let them.
“This is the first time all year we’ve been truly healthy. I was really pleased with the effort on both sides of the ball in the first half.
“We shot lights out. To put up 108 points against Wheeling Park — one of the best teams in the state of West Virginia — all in all, we’re just happy to be playing on Saturday against Morgantown.”
The Hawks jumped out to a quick 10-2 upper hand to start the game thanks to a pair of 3-pointers from sharp-shooting Kaden Metheny, which made him the all-time leader in school history in 3s made. He finished the game with six triples, increasing his career total to 239.
“I think Kaden Metheny is the best point guard the state has had in the last 20 years,” Jebbia said. “Going against him is like getting a root canal without the novocain. That’s the best way to put it.
“He hasn’t hit a ton of treys against us in the first two games but when he got the 3 going, I think it took his game to an even higher level, if that’s possible.”
Metheny poured in four treys and 15 points in the opening stanza, with K.J. McClurg adding eight first-quarter points to help give the Hawks a comfortable 32-14 cushion after one.
Alex Vargo paced Park in the first with 12 points.
Metheny and Vargo continued to carry their teams in the second as Metheny netted 10 and Vargo knocked down 7 of 8 free throws.
At the half, University extended its lead to 54-22, with Vargo accounting for 19 of his team’s 22 points.
University continued to knock down shots in the second half, draining five treys and chalking up 31 points in the fourth quarter to complete the runaway victory.
“I told them if they won (Tuesday’s) game, I would give them (tonight) off from practice and give them 150 wings to watch the West Virginia-Kansas game. That must have been pretty good motivation.”
Metheny led the offensive onslaught with 29 points, while McClurg bucketed 24, Mike Maumbe supplied 11 and John Ross Mazza and Aaron Forbes each added 10.
Vargo scored a game-high 31 points to lead Wheeling Park.
“We came out and played hard in the second half,” Jebbia said. “Now, it’s back to the drawing board and we’ll try to get better at practice and get ready for Friday.”