Crusaders run past Wirt County, 80-50

STEVE HEMMELGARN The Marietta Times Parkersburg Catholic’s Patrick Copen, right, goes up for a basket as Wirt County’s Kyler Carper defends during a high school boys basketball game Wednesday.

PARKERSBURG — Jeb Boice gave Parkersburg Catholic “a spark” in his season debut from a football injury in mid-October and Cade Ullman poured in 36 points to help the Crusaders produce an 80-50 win over visiting Wirt County Wednesday night.

The victory for PCHS, ranked No. 12 in Class A, improved its mark to 6-3, while the Tiger cagers dropped to 2-6 on the season.

Patrick Copen netted 21 points for Catholic, and although Boice scored only four points, he was a demon on defense, especially in the first quarter with three steals after getting the start.

From a 9-8 Wirt lead at 3:52 of the first, the Crusaders went on a 16-1 tear to finish the quarter roar out to 24-10 advantage. In the spurt, Ullman knocked down three of his six treys and had 13 points.

The second stanza saw PCHS put up 25 points to Wirt’s 15 to take a 49-25 lead to the locker room at half.

But in the third quarter, the Tigers clawed their way back into possible contention with a quick 8-0 run to make it a 53-37 game at 4:42. But again, it was Ullman, Copen and Boice to the rescue for PCHS to stretch the lead back to as much as 23 before the stanza ended with the Crusaders in charge again with an 18-point gap, 64-46, with just eight minutes to go.

And in the fourth, Catholic, which also received eight tallies from Payton Amrine, ran away with the win by winning the quarter 16-4.

For Boice, “it felt great to get back,” he said, after being sidelined on Oct. 13. “I’ve been practicing and have been able to do everything except contact, so when we did drills, I had to sit on the side and just shoot by myself.”

But he got medical clearance this week to play, so “yesterday (Tuesday) was my first practice full-go,” said Boice.

“I have no strings, but (head) coach (Rob Strcula), pulled me out a time or two when I got a little too excited and he wanted to calm me down a bit.”

For Strcula, “Jeb gave us a shot in the arm today,” he said. “You can’t coach energy or effort — and those are the two things he brought to the game today. I think he just lifted everybody else’s spirits up. And it was contagious how much he shared the ball, especially starting out with five or six assists in the the first period. We had 13 assists on 18 field goals at halftime.”

For Wirt head coach Chase Mills, “we played well for a lot of the first quarter,” he said. “But we didn’t slow down Ullman, and one’s been able to do that.

“We did OK in the third, outscored them by six, but when you dig yourself in a hole like we did, it’s hard to come all the way out.”

Kyler Carper paced Wirt’s scoring on the night with 16 points, while Hunter Hickman tallied 15, and Trenton Burdette had 10.