Crusaders defeat Ritchie

ELLENBORO – Senior Andrew Davis tallied a game-high 27 points for host Ritchie County, but it was not enough as visiting Parkersburg Catholic pulled out a 63-53 victory Thursday night in the Rebels’ gymnasium.

The win upped the Crusaders overall mark to 10-1 as well as kept them unbeaten in the Little Kanawha Conference’s North Division at 6-0 with a road game at Doddridge County slated for next Thursday while Ritchie County dropped to 7-5 overall and 3-3 in the North.

Joe Padden scored nine of his team-high 21 points in the second quarter and Jake Ullman put in half of his 20 points during the first eight minutes of action to lead the Crusaders in scoring. Senior D.J. Burgess was the only other double-digit scorer on the night as the Rebel talled 13 points before fouling out in the game’s final 10 seconds.

The Rebels took an 8-7 lead on a pair of free throws by Justin Sage with 4:37 remaining to be played in the first quarter. But, those would also be the final points scored by the hosts in the first quarter while the Crusaders received a pair of triples from Ullman to forge a 13-8 lead heading into the second quarter of action.

A bucket by the Rebels’ Jessie Hilvers sliced the deficit to three, 13-10, to open the second eight minutes of play. However, a triple by Padden ignited an 11-4 run by the visitors over the next four minutes as PC increased its lead to 24-14.

Two free throws from Hilvers closed out the first half scoring and sent the teams to the locker rooms at the intermission with the Columbia blue and white leading by eight, 24-16.

Ritchie, which plays at Tyler Consolidated on Thursday, cut the margin to three, 33-30, on a pair of Burgess free throws with 3:47 remaining in the third quarter. But, a bucket by Padden and a putback by Ullman pushed the lead back to seven, 37-30, with 90 seconds left to play.

Parkersburg Catholic would close out the quarter with a 4-1 run to go up by 10, 41-31, with one quarter left to play.

Three times the Rebels would pull to within eight-the last coming at the 5:25 mark on a pair of Davis free throws-but that would be as close as the hosts would get as the Crusaders would mount a 13-4 run over the next three minutes to increase its lead to 17, 59-42, with 2:11 showing on the clock.

Ritchie would get no closer than the final score.