The first six games of the Boys High School State Tournament were played Wednesday at the Charleston Coliseum.
Four of the six played were on the Single-A side, while half of the Triple-A bracket played its quarterfinal game.
Notre Dame was upset by Parkersburg Catholic in the first game of the day. The Irish didn’t shoot well in the first half, and weren’t able to get any closer than two points in the fourth quarter.
That was after trailing by double digits multiple times in the game.
Notre Dame falls, 58-56.
Jaidyn West led with 24 points for Notre Dame, while senior Gabe Zummo struggled shooting, finishing with just 11 points on 4-of-18 shooting. His coach talked after the game about his tournament run coming to an end.
“You know I really hate it for him. He is a college-level player and I wanted him to have a big tournament. In my opinion, he’s one of the more under-recruited players in the state and I wanted him to come down and play great. I just hate that it had to end like this for him. He’s done so much for the program. Without him we don’t win a state championship two years ago,” West said.
University, however, started and finished strong against Musselman in the first Triple-A quarterfinal.
The second-seeded Hawks were led by KJ McClurg. He scored 23 points, 16 of which came in the second half, and shot 10-of-12 from the free throw line.
Kaden Metheny added 15 points, all of which went through the hoop in the first half.
Musselman made the game interesting at the start of the fourth, but University pulled away to win 65-51.
Metheny talked about forcing turnovers.
“And we knew if we could shut them down it would cause a lot of problems for them. In the first half we did well at that. In the second half, they didn;t have any turnovers. I think that’s why they got back into the game and started playing their style,” said Metheny.
UHS forced 12 changes of possession in the first half, but just four in the second half. The Hawks move on to play the winner of tomorrow’s game between George Washington and Cabell Midland.
The top-seeded team in Single-A, Webster County, played like the top seeded team, easily handing St. Mary’s a 15-point loss.
Tyler Gray played well from the start, scoring 20 points, and Dorian Groggs chipped in sixteen.
The Highlanders led by as many as 21 points in the first half and cruised to a 78-63 victory to keep the undefeated season in tact.
“This is a great team here. They’ve been sticking together all year. We got really good defense. That’s what we’ve been talking about all year, we’re going to win through our defense. If we get deep in this tournament it’s going to be because of our defense. But we shot the ball well tonight too. I think we had four guys in double figures. That’s great,” said head coach Michael Gray.
Cole Taylor added 13 points and 10 rebounds in a double-double performance.
Webster County advances to the semi-finals and will play Trinity, after the Warriors came back to defeat Greenbrier West in the 4/5 matchup.
The Warriors trailed by as many as 11 points in the second half, before chipping away thanks to the stellar play of Briston Bennett down the stretch.
Bennett finished the game with 29 points, making six 3-pointers, and making 7-of-8 shots from the free throw line, including six in a row late in the fourth quarter to count as the final six points for the Warriors.
“I looked at the scoreboard I think it was the third quarter, we were down 11 or so. I wasn’t happy with the way I was playing,” Bennett said. “But I looked at my guys and said this is it, we’ve got 11 or 12 seniors on this team. I’m not going out like this. I’ve worked too hard for this. We’ve worked too hard for this.”
Trinity certainly worked for the win, outscoring Greenbrier West 21-6 over the final 6:30 of the game.
The Warriors, and all the teams that played Wednesday, will rest up and play again on Friday.
Thursday’s action will conclude the quarterfinal round of the tournament.
Morgantown plays agaisnt Capital at 11:15 a.m. Thursday. The Mohigans are followed by a Double-A matchup between Fairmont Senior and Lewis County at 1 o’clock to end the day’s first session of games.
Grafton goes up against top-seeded Chapmanville at 5:30 p.m., and Robert C. Byrd faces Oak Hill at 9 o’clock.
We will have highlights and coverage of those games Thursday, and throughout the tournament.