Cutright’s dunks help Williamstown top Wirt, 61-47

JAY W. BENNETT The Marietta Times Wirt County’s Zakk Adams shoots the ball over the defense of Williamstown’s Josh Keiser (25) and Baylor Haught (15) during a Wednesday semifinal of the Wirt County Holiday Tournament in Elizabeth, W.Va.

ELIZABETH, W.Va. — Williamstown shot the lights out in the first half and Buffalo held on for a one-point victory here Wednesday night in the semifinals of the Wirt County Holiday Tournament.

In the late game, the 5-1 Yellowjackets of head coach Scott Sauro shot 72 percent (18 of 25) in the first half and that included draining all seven attempts from downtown as WHS exploded out to a 45-14 halftime advantage and cruised past the host Tigers, 61-47.

Wahama, which held its only lead at 2-0, had a chance to tie the game late versus Buffalo, but scored an inside deuce in the waning seconds as the Bison held on for a 54-53 victory to improve to 2-2. Buffalo, which will meet Williamstown in today’s championship game following the 6 p.m. consolation affair, defeated the now 1-5 White Falcons earlier this year by a 46-41 margin.

A dozen first-half turnovers didn’t help the 1-4 Tigers, who watched ‘Jacket big man Cullen Cutright throw down a pair of dunks en route to tying freshman teammate Baylor Haught for game-high scoring honors with 18 apiece. Haught, who made his first four 3s, tallied 16 of his markers off the bench in the first half.

After Cutright scored inside to open the game via a Trenton Lynch assist, the Tigers proceeded to tie it for the only time when Trenton Burdette, who led the orange and black with 11 points, three assists and three steals, found Justin Windland inside for two of his seven markers.

JAY W. BENNETT The Marietta Times Williamstown’s Cullen Cutright (00) bodies up Wirt County’s Blake Batten during a high school boys Wirt County Holiday Tournament basketball game Wednesday in Elizabeth, W.Va.

However, a Cutright deuce at 4:42 was followed by his own steal and slam for a 6-2 cushion at 4:25 of the first as the ‘Jackets rolled to a 20-6 advantage after one. Kyler Carper’s putback for the hosts made it 11-6, but Josh Keiser sandwiched a pair of 3s between one from Baylor to close out the scoring.

Williamstown’s Eli Inman, who had a game-high six assists and also finished with three steals, fed Cutright for a basket to open the second quarter and then Keiser and Baylor dropped in trifectas for a 28-6 bulge. Hunter Hickman’s basket closed the gap to 20, but Cutright answered that when he made a move on the block and flushed one down as Williamstown was in control throughout.

Blake Batten had eight points as well as game-highs of 10 rebounds and five blocks for the Tigers, who tallied the final five points of the contest thanks to a Charles Wells putback and a Peyton Richards trey. Keiser finished with nine points for WHS, which also received eight points and a game-high four steals form Eric Brown.

Buffalo freshman guard Noah Thompson connected on his first four 3-pointers and led his team with 20 markers. Tyler Morlachetta double-doubled with 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Bison, who also received eight counters and 11 caroms from Ty Parkins. Buffalo led by a dozen twice, which included a 47-35 cushion entering the fourth.

The White Falcons, who are playing without the services of injured Jacob Lloyd, had a big double-double from Noah Litchfield. He led all scorers with 27 points and also hauled down 11 rebounds. Abram Pauley chipped in nine points and Skylar Estep had seven in the setback.