Williamstown tops Catholic, stays unbeaten
WILLIAMSTOWN — Xavier Caruthers dropped in six of Williamstown’s dozen made 3s here Friday night and the Yellowjackets dominated the second half en route to a 65-44 victory against rival Parkersburg Catholic.
The two Little Kanawha Conference West Division foes entered the affair ranked in the top five of Class A. For a half at least, the fourth-ranked Crusaders were right where they wanted to be, but No. 2 Williamstown continued its torrid shooting to improve to 9-0 overall and 6-0 in the LKC West.
Caruthers, who was tied for game-high scoring honors with 22 points by Crusader Patrick Copen, finished 6 of 8 from downtown. He made a pair of 3s in the first, third and fourth quarters.
“It the second half we just said we’re going to make two adjustments. We made them and the kids responded well,” said WHS head coach Scott Sauro, who watched his team shoot 66.7% (22 of 33) from the floor along with knocking down 12 of 17 from deep.
“Pat is a heckuva player. He’s a tremendous player and so isn’t Jeb (Boice). We just had to do a little better job of finding him. We didn’t like go in there and yell and scream at them. We were just kind of business like.”
Copen tallied 18 of his counters, which included a quartet of 3s, in the first half as the visitors only trailed 34-30. PCHS actually held a 30-27 advantage with 2:44 left in the half when Copen got the shooter’s touch on a triple that rolled around the iron and dropped.
However, Caruthers found Baylor Haught open for an inside deuce on an inbound pass and then Haught followed with a pair of made foul shots to give WHS the lead for good.
The ‘Jackets got a big lift before the break when Sam Cremeans canned a trifecta with 4 ticks left for part of his 10 points.
“A big part of our game plan was to make sure to get them off the 3-point line and I hope our guys understand how important it is to keep them off the 3-point line the way they shot today,” said Catholic boss Rob Strcula, who got 10 counters from Boice and nine by Xavier Collie. “They are a good team.
“I thought we played hard. I thought we played just as hard as they did, but when you got that many shooters out there it can make up for a multitude of sins. They played well and are on a good roll right now.”
Boice’s steal and layup to open the third 1:08 in was the last time it was a one-possession game. From that point on, WHS closed out the stanza on a 15-4 run. Colten Luther started it with two foul shots. After a 3 by Cremeans, Luther made an 8-foot bank shot, Eli Inman (14 points) made a 6-foot one-handed baseline floater and Caruthers knocked down two 3s, including one just before the buzzer for a 49-36 bulge.
“I thought that locker room was going to explode when I gave them tomorrow off,” said Sauro, who watched Garret Hill come off the bench to provide plenty of energy along with seven points and a trio of steals. “We were fortunate we shot it well and I thought our team played with a lot of heart and so didn’t Catholic, too.
“It’s a rivalry game. Their kids played hard. Our kids played hard and it was just a fun game. We’ll get back at it on Monday. I want them to rest their bodies.”
PCHS (5-1, 4-1), which won the turnover battle 17-7 but was outrebounded 30-15, hit 48% (12 of 25) in the first half, but shot just 6 of 23 after the break.
Caruthers had a game-high seven rebounds and added three assists. Copen finished with a game-high five steals and a team-best four boards. Boice had a game-high four assists and added three steals.
The Crusaders welcome Wirt County to town for a 2 p.m. junior varsity start today. WHS returns to action when Ravenswood invades on Tuesday.
Contact Jay Bennett at firstname.lastname@example.org