Crusaders defeat Doddridge County, 76-52

PARKERSBURG – No. 6 (Class A) Parkersburg Catholic warmed up for its Friday night showdown at Wood County rival Williamstown with a 76-52 blowout victory over Little Kanawha Conference North Division foe Doddridge County Wednesday night at the Crusader gymnasium.

Junior Joe Padden tallied a game-high 21 points to lead four players into double digits as the Crusaders improved to 8-1 overall and 4-0 in the North. Doddridge County, now 1-6 overall and 1-5 LKC North, was paced by Clayton Yeager’s 15 points.

Robby Strcula’s Crusaders came out smoking, hitting five of their first six shots in racing out to a 13-5 lead and never looked back. Junior Brady Kurucz got things rolling for the Columbia blue and white with an inside bucket just 19 seconds into the contest.

Payton Sturm, who contributed 13 points, four assists and four steals to the cause, followed up a Jake Ullman miss with a two-pointer and then Padden connected from long range to push the margin to 7-0 with 6:19 showing on the clock.

A 3-pointer by Ashton Hinzman, following a pair of free throws by PC’s Kurucz, got the visitors on the board at the 5:35 mark. But, the hosts would tally 10 of the final 13 points of the quarter to take a 19-8 lead to the benches.

The Bulldogs would keep the game somewhat close to open the second eight minutes of action as Yeager, who added eight rebounds, scored six of his team-high points. But, a 12-6 run over the final 3:05 of the half sent the teams to the locker rooms at the intermission with the Crusaders leading by a comfortable 19 points, 37-18.

A lead that continued to balloon as the second half got under way as a triple by Jake Boice ignited an 18-4 run by PC that upped the Bulldogs’ deficit to 33, 55-22, with four minutes left in the third quarter.

Doddridge would pull back to within 28, 62-34, but that would be as close as the visitors would get until both teams cleared their benches midway through the final quarter.

Joining Padden in double-digits for the Crusaders was Kurucz (15), Sturm (13) and Boice (10) while the Bulldogs received nine points, four assists and four steals from Dillon Muhly-Alexander and eight points from T.J. Baldwin.

The Crusaders will look to move to 5-0 in the North when they travel up Interstate 77 to Williamstown on Friday to take on the archrival Yellowjackets while Doddrige County will travel to St. Marys tonight in search of win number two on the season.