PARKERSBURG - Host Parkersburg Catholic led from late in the first quarter on in registering a season-opening 60-46 boys basketball victory over Clarksburg Notre Dame Wednesday night.
Jake Ullman, a transfer from Belpre in his first start for the Crusaders, notched a game-high 27 points, including 21 in the first half. Joe Padden tallied eight of his 10 points in the second half for PC, which plays another home game tonight with defending Class A state champion Charleston Catholic providing the opposition at 7:30 p.m.
For the Fighting Irish (0-1), 6-foot-4 Cal Cistaro led the way with 25 points and Colby Abruzzino added 11.
Photo by Jeff Baughan
Clarksburg Notre Dame's Cal Cistaro passes to a teammate as he is cut off from the basket by Parkersburg Catholic's Jake Boice, left, and Benjamin Collie. Catholic defeated the Irish, 60-46.
In the final minute of a nip-and-tuck first quarter, Ullman fed Austin Luther on a break to snap a 10-10 tie with 47 seconds left before Ullman scored in the lane at 11.8 seconds to give Catholic a 14-10 edge going to the second period.
A 6-0 mini-run early in the second quarter propelled PC into an eight-point lead, 20-12, at the 6:22 mark. An Ullman trey from the corner at 3:22 made it a 10-point gap, 27-17, although that margin shrank to 32-27 by halftime as Notre Dame outscored the Crusaders 10-5 in the last 3:12 of the first half.
The third quarter opened with Cistaro scoring inside twice to make it just a one-point game at 32-31. But Catholic went on a 13-3 burst over the final 5:16 of the period to surge in front by 11, 45-34. Brady Kurucz's two hoops started the run, Padden followed with a trey and then a drive right down the middle of the lane for a bucket, and Ben Collie and Payton Sturm finished the PC barrage with last-minute field goals - Sturm's coming off a loose-ball pickup for a layup with 56.2 seconds remaining.
Catholic built a 52-38 advantage with 2:44 to play, although the Fighting Irish did come within 10 three times in the last 2:10 of the game.
''I thought we played really well for it being our first game,'' said Catholic second-year head coach Rob Strcula. ''The first half, though, was better than the second. We can't get away tomorrow night with some of the things we did or didn't do in the second half tonight.''
On Ullman's first game in a Catholic uniform, ''he played very well,'' said Strcula. ''And then in the second half, Joe (Padden) really came on. So it's nice to have two guys like that on the floor. They compliment each other very well.''