Parkersburg Catholic drops nail-biter, 60-59

JAY W. BENNETT The Marietta Times Parkersburg Catholic’s Patrick Copen makes his way toward the lane after teammate Jalen Brunny sets a pick on Charleston Catholic’s Garrett Ware during the Crusaders’ 60-59 setback on Thursday.

PARKERSBURG — Parkersburg Catholic survived dry spells without a field goal of 5:47 in the second quarter and 6:23 in the third to finally erase what was once a 13-point second-half deficit here Thursday to Charleston Catholic before falling in heart-breaking fashion to the Irish, 60-59.

After Robby Williams drained an NBA 3 for part of his team-high 17 points, the Irish looked to be in solid shape holding a 56-46 cushion with 3:17 to play.

However, the Crusaders used four Cade Ullman foul shots and a 3 by Patrick Copen to close the deficit to three at 56-53 with 1:50 remaining.

Although Garrett Ware, who had 13 points and was one rebound shy of a double-double, made 1 of 2 from the charity stripe, a Copen jumper in the paint with 1:11 left made it a one-possession tilt again.

On the ensuing inbounds, Ullman got a steal and a layup as he capped off his game-high 29-point evening. No sooner had Ullman scored, Copen then stole the next inbounds pass and converted the lay-in to give the Crusaders a 59-57 cushion thanks to a trio of buckets in just nine seconds.

The Irish, who improved to 4-3 and return to action Tuesday at Greater Beckley Christian, tied the game on their next possession thanks to a Ware putback.

Parkersburg Catholic head coach Rob Strcula’s club had a chance to take the final shot. Despite an open look for 3 with about eight seconds left, the shot was off. After Zion Suddeth rebounded it, he fired to Ware near halfcourt, who proceeded to skip a pass to a streaking Aiden Satterfield.

Satterfield, who finished with 15 points while Suddeth (eight) and Will Jenkins (seven) had the only other Irish counters, was fouled on the play to avoid what would’ve been a buzzer-beating layup. After five-tenths of a second was put back on the clock, the sophomore bricked his first chance but calmly drained the second to secure the win as PCHS couldn’t get a shot off following a long Jeb Boice pass to Ty Sturm, who had a game-high 11 rebounds.

“We didn’t play a very intelligent game,” admitted Strcula, whose 4-2 Crusaders play Saturday afternoon at Nicholas County. “We got to play smarter. We just didn’t play smart today and didn’t play together as a team and it showed. That’s the thing.

“We played a good first quarter, got up for the game and got excited. For some reason, we were nowhere to be found in the second and third. We’ve got to come out and play four quarters. I’ve said it already a couple of times this year.”

The opening stanza featured eight lead changes and a trio of ties. A deuce by Williams put the visitors ahead 12-11, but Ullman had a lay-in and then Sturm kicked out an offensive rebound to Ullman, who canned a trifecta. After Boice picked Williams’ pocket, the Crusader darted to the other end for a lay-in, but his touch was a tad strong and as the ball came off the rim, a leaping Copen was there to flush it home with a monster stuff to give PCHS an 18-12 cushion after one.

Suddeth’s three-point play with 61 ticks left before intermission put the Irish ahead 27-23, but the Crusaders tied it at the break thanks to two more Ullman free throws and a Brunny lay-in.

Leading 32-31 with 6:31 left in the third, PCHS proceeded to miss eight straight field goals as the Irish took control with a 14-0 run to help forge a 45-35 advantage entering the final eight minutes.

“A lot of the mistakes we made today were self induced,” Strcula added while noting of the potential game-winning field goal “we just shot it too early. That’s just a learning experience. It’s not necessarily one person’s fault. It’s a learning experience.”