Late bucket gives Ohio boys win over West Virginia

PARKERSBURG – Players have a tendency to be more offensive-minded in an all-star basketball game.

But the Ohio standouts definitely needed a defensive stop in the closing seconds of the 15th annual Battle Against Cystic Fibrosis boys’ classic, and got it to hang on to a 107-106 triumph over the West Virginia stars at the the Rod Oldham Athletic Center Friday night.

“We’d talked to the guys last night and today, and we wanted to do some things that you don’t usually see in all-star games,” said Ohio head coach Ed Fry of Meigs. “Get back on defense, talk and help, and rebound. I was really concerned about rebounding, because we were out-sized. But I thought we competed really well on the boards. They did what they needed to do to win.”

With under a minute to play and the score tied at 105-all, Magnolia’s Preston Boswell converted one-of-two from the foul line to give W.Va. a one-point lead.

Ohio came right back, though, to regain the advantage on John Glenn’s Austin Blatt’s reverse layup.

“He (Blatt) was a late addition,” Fry said.

“Of course John Glenn won the state championship, and I can see why. He’s a winner. He plays hard at both ends of the floor.”

The Buckeye stars then had an opportunity to add to their lead at the foul line, but missed on the front end of a one-and-one bonus situation.

With time running out, West Virginia’s Garrett Gilkeson of Parkersburg South missed a deep shot from the right corner, and Boswell got the rebound in the paint but coudn’t get off a good shot. Game over.

“We just stepped up our defense, and spread it out our offense,” said Ohio MVP Jordan Albright of Vinton County. “We just knew that we had to get that stop, and win another one for Ohio.”

Ohio has now won two of the last three BACF Classic games against West Virginia.

Albright finished the contest with 13 points, including four triples

“Everybody on this team is really talented,” Albright said. “Everybody hit a lot of shots and the MVP award could’ve gone to anybody really.”

Josh Lewis of Cambridge led the Buckeye standouts with 14 points. Kaileb Sheets of Meigs added 12, and Tyler Twyman of River Valley had 10. Troy Francis of Caldwell netted nine, while Mason Edgell of Morgan, Tavian Miller of Belpre and Blatt chipped in with eight.

As a team, Ohio drained 21 threes.

“We just had shooters and we were hitting a little bit,” Miller said. “It was an all-star game, and you’ve got to let it fly a little bit.”

Boswell, the W.Va. state scoring champ two straight years, tallied a game-high 23 points. Gilkeson added 20, while Landon Travis of Williamstown and Cody Boggs of South had 13 and 12, respectively. Bradley Gibbs of Point Pleasant and Tristan Nichols of Wirt County had nine apiece.

“It was exciting, wasn’t it?” said Fry. “Both sides played really well. Everybody shot the ball well. This was fun to be a part of.”

Sparked by Travis’ seven first-quarter points, W.Va. staked itself to a 23-19 advantage.

During second-quarter action, the Ohio stars went a little 3-crazy, knocking down 10, and scoring 40 points. At halftime, the Buckeye stars surged ahead, 59-53. Setting the pace, Albright had three treys, while Mason Edgell of Morgan and Carter Keifer of Fort Frye buried two apiece. Damon Metheney of Frontier, Blatt, and Sheets each had one.

West Virginia regained the lead in the third stanza, 82-79. It was nip and tuck for most of the fourth quarter. W.Va. had a nine-point lead, 96-87, until two straight buckets by Lewis cut it to five.

Twyman’s three gave Ohio a 103-101 lead. But Gilkeson’s triple from the top of the key put West Virginia back in front, 105-103.

Sheets’ two freebies then tied it 105-all.

“Both teams picked up there the last five or six minutes,” Fry said. “I had my assistant coaches from Meigs, and they were scrambling the whole game, coming up with lineups and things. So, they hit it on the nose there at the end, and that worked out well.”

Added Miller, “It was a good experience. It was fun, and we got the win, and that’s all I care about. We fought really hard.”