Catholic too much for Williamstown in 70-53 win

Williamstown's Cullen Cutright, center, gets called for an offensive foul on Parkersburg Catholic's Ty Sturm (5) during a high school boys basketball game Friday. Photo by Jordan Holland.

WILLIAMSTOWN — Parkersburg Catholic bested Williamstown, 70-53, Friday night and Yellowjackets head coach Scott Sauro thought the reason was pretty clear.

“Without simplifying too much, they hit some open shots and we didn’t,” Sauro said.

“Both teams were going to get open shots. They knocked them down and we didn’t.”

Catholic went 28 for 55 (51 percent) from the floor compared to 19 for 45 (42 percent) for Williamstown.

Despite the Crusaders jumping out to an 8-0 lead to open the game, the ‘Jackets battled back and trimmed the lead to one point twice in the first half. Catholic, though, outscored Williamstown 17-9 in the third period to build a comfortable 58-43 lead.

“Halftime we told our guys we had to play better on-the-ball defense,” Catholic head coach Rob Strcula said. “(Williamstown) did a good job getting to the paint, dumping down to (Cullen) Cutright or finding the open wing. We put a lot of responsibility on our guys to do a better job on the ball. I think that paid dividends, to hold them to 19 in the second half.”

Cade Ullman and Patrick Copen led the charge for the Crusaders, scoring 21 points apiece. Jeb Boice joined the duo in double figures with 13 while Peyton Amrine added nine.

“Having (Ullman and Copen) makes a difference, but at the same time you’ve got Jeb Boice,” Strcula said. “Jeb being in there takes a little pressure off of Cade and Pat just for ball-handling and defensive purposes. It was a total team effort.”

The Yellowjackets got a spark from Trent Lynch, whose 3-point shooting kept them in the game early. Lynch knocked down 6-of-7 attempts from beyond the arc for a team-high 18 points. Cutright added 15 while Eli Inman netted eight.

Overall, Sauro said, Williamstown needed a more balanced performance.

“Trent came in and played tough for us,” Sauro said. “He didn’t play with fear. He stepped up and made some shots for us. We just need multiple people hitting perimeter shots just to loosen their defense up a little bit.”

Catholic led start to finish in the contest, with Williamstown getting as close as 18-17 and 22-21 before a 17-7 Crusaders run stretched the lead to double figures just before halftime.

“You have to credit Catholic,” Sauro said. “They came out with a lot of energy and they shot the ball well from the get-go. Obviously Ullman shoots it well, Copen shoots it well, Amrine shoots it well, but they got contributions from their other guys. That’s what makes them tough to guard. (Ullman and Copen) are so dynamic and require so much attention that some of those other guys get loose.”

Williamstown’s Baylor Haught scored the final four points of the first half, and Isaac Cutright opened the second half with a pair of free throws to cut Catholic’s lead to five, 41-36. But back-to-back buckets by Copen and a 3 by Amrine quickly put the Crusaders back up by double-digits.

Friday’s result puts both teams at 7-3 on the year.

Catholic’s three losses are to Philip Barbour, Notre Dame and Ravenswood, but Strcula’s squad has just one Little Kanawha Conference road game remaining on its schedule and is looking for a strong second half of the season. Coming off a win at Williamstown, the Crusaders feel good with where they are.

“We’ve lost to some good teams, but we were able to beat a good team tonight,” Strcula said.

“We’re happy with where we’re at but we don’t want to get complacent. We’ve got to get better every day.”