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Warren outlasts Catholic

PARKERSBURG — In a game that went down to the wire, the Warren Warriors escaped with a Saturday afternoon win. In the 64-62 road victory over Parkersburg Catholic, the Warriors fought through a back-and-forth battle to get the job done. Up with only 2.4 seconds on the clock, Warren had to make one last stop to secure the game. PC’s Jeb Boice got the inbound pass and fired up a shot from just past half court going right to left that bounced off the backboard to just miss out on a buzzer-beater.

A few lead changes spanning just over a minute set the tone for the finish, as Warren took a 51-50 edge with 5:15 to go off a pair of made free throws from Evan Byrd. On the following WHS possession, Boice got whistled for his fourth foul with 4:56 remaining. That resulted in two more makes from the charity stripe for the Warriors, and it pushed their lead up to 53-50. In a hurry, Patrick Copen, who finished with a game-high 28 points and seven boards, snuffed out the Warren momentum with a game-tying 3-ball on the other end. When the Warriors pushed ahead with a 7-1 spurt over the next two minutes, it was capped off by a close-range Josh Welch shot to give WHS its biggest lead (60-54) of the afternoon.

That came after Parkersburg Catholic jumped out to an early 9-3 lead with five minutes gone by to start the game. Both teams struggled to find open looks, as Crusader and Warrior defenders stifled almost every opportunity for the offenses to get in a rhythm.

Then, both teams got going from the floor and engaged in an affair that featured a half-dozen ties and almost as many lead changes.

The crowd on hand at the PCHS gymnasium almost saw another tie when Catholic attempted to come back from being down when the score got to 60-54. A made free throw by Xavier Collie and a lay-in by Boice combined to trim the deficit to three with 1:38 to go.

Then, Boice found Collie off a turnover that resulted in a basket to get the score to 60-59. Following made free throws by Kurt Taylor and Brandon Simoniette, Catholic was down four with 12 seconds on the clock. Copen raced down the floor and buried a triple to get his team within a single point for the final time. To top it off, Simoniette hit a free throw to make sure a Crusader two-pointer wouldn’t end the game in heartbreak. That finished his game with a team-high 19 points in the triumph.

The win puts Warren at 12-7, and head coach Blane Maddox was happy with how his team fought in hostile territory. They’ll spring into action again on Tuesday night when they stay on the road to face Logan.

“First of all, hats off to Parkersburg Catholic. They battled. Boice, Copen and all of their bigs got in there. It was a good game,” Maddox said.

“We’ve got a lot of tough games. It’s not an easy schedule, and hopefully this game will help prepare us for when we have to match up against the sectional district champs. I thought our bench played well in the first half. I thought Evan Byrd came up big. Kurt Taylor’s 13 was big, and we needed those. It was a good, balanced-scoring game for everybody.”

Parkersburg Catholic drops to 10-7 with the loss, and head coach Rob Strcula says his team has to show mental toughness to make it through a stretch of road games with the season continuing to move at full force.

“After the game, I told my guys that it’s funny how we’re playing better now than when we were 8-2. We’ve just got to keep plugging away. Jeb played well with 15 points and seven assists, and you can’t take away how well Pat played with 28 and seven (rebounds). Xavier played a good game (12 points). We got some solid contributions from him. We’re playing smarter and making more intelligent decisions,” Strcula said. “It doesn’t get any easier. We’re playing at Wirt on Tuesday, and less than 24 hours after that, we’ve got to play at 2:30 p.m. against Greater Beckley Christian. Right now, we’ve got to be road warriors and get through next week with a positive outcome.”

Contact Josh Hughes at jhughes@newsandsentinel.com

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