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Central Pulls Off Overtime Thriller

By Rick Ryan

Charleston

Gazette-Mail

Ryan Reasbeck didn’t start out so strongly, but he sure finished with a flourish.

Wheeling Central’s junior guard scored eight of his 26 points in the second overtime Friday night as the Maroon Knights emerged with a 76-69 victory against Charleston Catholic in a season-opening showdown at Catholic’s Athletic Facility.

J.C. Maxwell added 25 points and Michael Toepfer tallied 14 for Central, which came into the game ranked No. 2 in the preseason Class AAA poll. The Irish were second in the AA poll.

Reasbeck missed all but one of his five shots in the first quarter and had only six points at halftime on 3-of-11 shooting as Central trailed 31-29. But he turned it on after that, also donating eight rebounds and five steals and a big play virtually every 30 seconds down the stretch.

“He’s a shooter, and shooters shoot,” said Central coach Mel Stephens. “We’ve got confidence in him every time he shoots it that it’s going to be a pretty good shot. We don’t get too frustrated when he’s not making them at the beginning because when it comes down to crunch time, he makes plays, shots, free throws, defensive plays.”

Aiden Satterfield led Catholic with 28 points and four steals, but sat out three minutes in the second half when he twisted his ankle and had to get it retaped. He returned to finish the game, but his movement was a bit limited. Zion Suddeth had 17 points and five steals for the Irish.

Neither team led by more than six points and the Irish had to fight back after being down four points in the final minute of the fourth quarter. Suddeth had a key steal and three-point play to bring Catholic within 60-59 with 42 seconds left.

The Irish forced the first OT when a Central player inadvertently tipped the ball into the basket for two points for Catholic to make it 61-all with six seconds to go. Each team had just one basket in the first OT.

In the second OT, Maxwell started it off with a 3-pointer for Central, which outscored the Irish 13-6 in the final period. Reasbeck also nailed a 3 to make it 69-65 in favor of the Maroon Knights and later swished five straight free throws to end the suspense.

“Somebody said when we came in the locker room,” Stephens said, “that this was like an old March game, like us playing them at the Civic Center. That kind of atmosphere and effort that both teams gave.”

Charleston Catholic, which led 44-39 toward the end of the third quarter, got a boost off the bench from freshman Jayallen Turner, who had 10 points and five rebounds.

“Actually, I’m feeling pretty good,” said Irish coach Hunter Moles. “That was a good game for our guys. This game will help us in the long run. We don’t put a cupcake schedule together for a reason. No offense to other teams, but we could play a cupcake schedule and rack the wins up. You play a team like Wheeling Central, you’re in for a dogfight and we’d rather be in a dogfight.

“Give credit to Wheeling Central coaches and players. Then came down here on a big road trip, first game of the season from COVID and they played hard and shot the ball really good. We did some good things, too, and those late-game situations will come. We have two guys who played high minutes last year and some of these other guys haven’t been in these situations.”

Reserve Caleb Ratcliffe grabbed nine rebounds for Central, many of them offensive boards to give his team second and third chances. Kaden Yocum also had nine rebounds for the Maroon Knights. Chase Dalporto matched Turner’s five rebounds for the Irish.

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