Webster County powers past St. Marys, 78-63

JORDAN HOLLAND, The Marietta Times Webster County's Tyler Gray, right, and Pryce Gadd, left, try to pry the ball away from St. Marys' Peyton Auxier.

CHARLESTON — Webster County jumped out to a 10-0 lead and never looked back en route to handing St. Marys a 78-63 defeat in the Class A state quarterfinals Wednesday at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center.

The unbeaten Highlanders (26-0) were led by Tyler Gray’s game-high 20 points. Dorian Groggs added 16, Cole Taylor added 13 and Garrett Hamrick netted 12. Taylor also grabbed 10 rebounds for a double-double while Drew Holcomb finished with seven points and 10 boards.

“That was a great game,” said Webster head coach Mike Gray. “Give credit to St. Marys. That’s a great team and they shot the 3 well.”

St. Marys was paced in scoring by Grant Barnhart’s 16 points. Peyton Auxier and William Steele both notched 13 points, while Isaak Mooney and Dakota Sampson registered seven rebounds apiece.

The Highlanders dominated in the paint, outscoring St. Marys 32-10. They outshot the Blue Devils 47 percent (30 for 64) to 31 percent (19 for 61).

Sampson’s two free throws at the 2:57 mark in the first quarter finally got the Blue Devils on the scoreboard. Down 15-4, Mooney drained a 3-pointer to get the Devils within eight, but Hamrick answered with a 3 for Webster to make it 18-7 after a quarter.

“I think we were a little surprised at their physicality and their speed,” said St. Marys head coach Mark Barnhart.

“As the game progressed, we played and adjusted and quit holding the ball as much. I think it was 25-7 in the second quarter, and from there on, we were pretty fun to watch.”

The Highlanders opened the second period on a 7-0 run to pull ahead 25-7. Later, four straight points by Hamrick gave Webster a 21-point lead, 32-11. St. Marys answered with a much-needed offensive surge, getting a jumper from Auxier before back-to-back 3-pointers by Mooney and Steele made it 32-19. Webster stretched its lead back to 18, but Auxier scored seven straight points to help the Devils get back within 13, 39-26, at halftime.

A pair of triples by Steele helped St. Marys get within 12, 46-34, at the 5:24 mark in the third quarter, and Richard Dornon’s basket a minute later cut it to 11, 47-36. However, back-to-back baskets by Taylor put Webster up 51-36, and it was all Highlanders from there. Groggs’ buzzer-beating 3 made it 59-40 with eight minutes to play.

St. Marys outscored Webster 23-19 in the fourth quarter, but it was the end of the road for the Devils.

“Getting here, it was definitely a rough road,” said Mooney, a senior for the Blue Devils. “I couldn’t be more proud of my teammates. Just getting here, that makes a statement, to be one of the final eight teams in single-A.”