Crusaders come through in the clutch

PARKERSBURG – The best piece of advice for a team trailing by eight points with five minutes remaining in regulation is to do first and think later.

The Parkersburg Catholic boys basketball team outscored Williamstown 22-7 in the homestretch of the fourth quarter and pulled out a 69-62 victory against the visiting Yellowjackets on Friday night.

“We took a shot in the mouth in the fourth quarter and we answered the bell,” said PCHS coach Rob Strcula after his Crusaders improved to 14-2 and 9-1 in the North Division of the Little Kanawha Conference. “That run we had there toward the end shows the maturity of our guys.”

Williamstown (5-11, 3-7 LKC North) trailed by as many as 11 points in the early stages of the second half before producing its largest lead of the game at 55-47 with 4:59 showing on the fourth-quarter clock.

Despite turning the ball over 22 times compared to just four for the Crusaders, Williamstown kept the pressure on PCHS by connecting on 63 percent (22-of-35) from the floor.

Even after a double-technical foul on opposing players which delayed the game for several minutes as the officials attempted to restore order with 2 1/2 minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Yellowjackets kept pace with the Crusaders at 61 on a bucket from freshman Landon Travis.

The momentum then began to take a permanent seat on the PCHS sidelines as Jake Ullman contributed four of his game-high 23 points in the final 1:28. Also scoring in double figures for the Crusaders were Joe Padden with 15 points and Payton Sturm with 10 points to go with eight assists.

“Parkersburg Catholic went on a quick run midway in the fourth quarter and they can do that – they can score a lot of points in a hurry,” Williamstown coach Scott Sauro said. “We pretty much held them in check from going on a big run like that for most of the game.”

Williamstown’s Chandler Weber finished with a team-high 19 points on 5-of-7 shooting from 3-point range, while Josh DeBolt flirted with a double-double after scoring 14 points to go with nine rebounds. Also reaching double figures for point production was Gage Wix with 10 points.

“Our kids have a lot of pride and they want to do well, and that’s what you saw with those guys getting fired up,” Sauro said. “I want this one to hurt. It’s a rivalry game. We shouldn’t feel good right now – I don’t care what their record is compared to ours.

“We played hard and did some things well. I’m proud of my guys for playing hard.”

Jarric Hoskins knocked down a pair of treys as the Yellowjackets made their first five shots from the field while building a 13-7 advantage.

“Williamstown is playing with a lot of confidence, and I was not surprised by their shooting percentage,” Strcula.

Sturm responded with a couple of buckets as the Crusaders ended the first quarter on an 11-0 run and led 18-13 heading into the second quarter.

PCHS extended the gap to 32-25 by intermission then came out with a fury when Sturm and Ullman made good from downtown to widen the margin to 38-27 at the six-minute mark of the third quarter.

“This was a tough week – we’ve had four games in five days and to come out 3-1 we are very happy,” Strcula said.