Catholic loses in OT

PARKERSBURG – A 14-point lead melted away for host Parkersburg Catholic in the fourth quater as Clarksburg Notre Dame canned six 3-balls in a row, and in overtime, the Fighting Irish prevailed 61-60 over the Crusaders in a No. 5 vs. No. 6 Class A boys basketball battle Wednesday night.

Although playing without two injured starters in Jake Ullman and Austin Luther, sixth-ranked Catholic had forged a 43-29 lead going to the final quarter on the strength of a 14-6 third-period advantage, sparked by nine points from Joe Padden.

But fifth-rated Notre Dame came out blazin’ from three-point range to open the fourth with five consecutive treys, two by Philip Chafin sandwiched around a trio of 3-balls by Jarrod West. The 3-point flurry cut the gap down to 50-44 with 5:52 left in regulation, and the sixth trey in the run by West, pulled the Fighting Irish within 51-49 at the 4:39 mark.

Brady Kurucz then hit two staright shots to hold off Notre Dame for a while until West stole the ball, was fouled going in for a layup with 58.7 seconds and sank both free throws to force overtme tied at 55.

In the extra four-minure stanza, Kurucz had a free throw and then a baseline jumper at 1:36 to give his team a 58-55 lead, but by the 55.6-seconds mark, ND had retaken the lead at 59-58.

Padden sank two foul shots at 44.3 seconds to propel PC back on top 60-59 before West connected for the game-winning field goal with 16.6 seconds left from the right wing. Catholic, now 6-4, never got off another shot , except for a long throw at the basket after rebounding a missed ND free-throw attempt with just 1.9 seconds remaining.

Cal Cistaro paced the ND (8-2) scoring with 25 points, followed by West with 18 and Chafin with 10.

For Catholic, Padden netted 14 points on the night, while Kurucz tallied 13, Jake Boice 10 and Payton Sturm nine.

Luther, on crutches Wednesday night, has a sprained MCL, while Ulman, also in street clothes on the bench, has a fractured vertebrae in his back, according to PC head coach Rob Strcula.

“With Austin, we’re looking at about one to two weeks,” said Strcula, “while with Jake, it’s maybe two or three (weeks), if not more – which could mean the end of the season for him.”

Strcula bemoaned “not getting our of our zone (defense) earlier in the fourth quarter,” but added that he thought “we played our best – and smartest – basketball of the season in the first three quarters tonight.”