Williamstown meets talented Wheeling Central in W.Va. state tournament

RON JOHNSTON The Marietta Times Williamstown’s Isaac Cutright (41) contests a shot during a high school boys basketball game against Wood County Christian earlier this season.

WILLIAMSTOWN — At 1 p.m. today, Williamstown High School will be in search of win No. 20 as head coach Scott Sauro’s six-loss and seventh-seeded Yellowjackets take on No. 2 seed and defending state champion Wheeling Central.

The Maroon Knights, who are led in scoring by Ryan Reasbeck (13.0), J.C. Maxwell (12.7) and Anthony Robbins (12.3), are riding a 15-game winning streak for head coach Mel Stephens. The Maroon Knights own an 88-56 victory versus the Yellowjackets back on Jan. 26 in New Martinsville at Magnolia’s Rotary Classic.

“We came out kind of slow and a little bit worried in the beginning and by the second half we played a lot stronger and a lot better,” said ‘Jacket senior Boston Caruthers. “It’s (state) been a goal for us the whole season and I’m glad we finally get to go.”

Caruthers played a key defensive role in Williamstown’s 64-59 regional co-final triumph at Tolsia. Fellow senior Cullen Cutright joined teammate Eli Inman with 18 points.

“We’ve got to lock down on defense, take care of the ball and limit turnovers,” said Cutright, a third team all-state selection as a junior who surpassed 1,000 career points this season. “We’ve got to rebound the ball and every 50-50 ball has to be ours. It’s been a great season for all of us.”

Coach Sauro would agree to that, but knows just getting to March and to the state tournament isn’t the goal.

“We have to show up and play really well,” Sauro said. “Right now we are playing our best basketball. Even with that, we’re going to have to play really, really well to beat Wheeling Central, but we believe that we can do it.

“You see things like that happen all the time. We have the utmost respect for Wheeling Central, but we’re not going to be afraid to go down there and play them.”

With a fairly young but deep team to prepare for, coach Sauro replied when asked what Central’s biggest weakness was “probably youth. Isn’t that a good problem to have.

“They can play a lot of different ways. They share the ball well. They’ve got good guards off the bench who would start for most teams in single-A.”