Catholic boys cruise in season opener vs. Ritchie

Photo by Jay W. Bennett Parkersburg Catholic’s Patrick Copen (24) checks Ritchie County’s Joey James during the Crusaders’ 83-50 triumph on Tuesday evening.

PARKERSBURG — Cade Ullman scored a game-high 27 points while Parkersburg Catholic teammates Jeb Boice and Patrick Copen each recorded a double-double here Tuesday during the Crusaders’ 83-50 season-opening victory versus Ritchie County in a Little Kanawha Conference West Division battle.

Joey James pumped in 26 points in a losing cause for the Rebels, who couldn’t handle the PCHS press and fell behind 24-7 after the opening stanza.

“I’m not really sure why we have to open up with Catholic and we go to Ravenswood and The Pit on Friday,” quipped Rebel boss Rick Haught, who lost the turnover battle, 22-10, but did hit 10 of 20 from downtown. “To be in the LKC, it’s brutal and we have a lot of work to do. They have a really nice club. I told those guys they’ve been running offense for two or three years and they know exactly where they are at.

“They know how to break you down. They are quicker than us and so hats off to them. He’s got a nice club. We’re still finding out who we are and we’re still learning on offense. We strive to be where Catholic is at running offense, but we have a pretty steep learning curve here in December.”

Ullman, who made 7 of 9 from the charity stripe while the Rebels combined to go 4 of 11, actually put the hosts ahead for good with two made foul shots 47 seconds in. Boice, who finished with 16 points along with amassing game-highs of 10 assists and six steals while adding four boards, followed with a lay-in. Copen, who had 18 points and a game-high 11 caroms, then had a steal and a layup for an early 6-0 lead just 1:20 in as Haught called a timeout.

After Ullman stuffed Michael Sammons on the other end, Boice drained a 3 and it was 11-0 following another Rebel turnover and a deuce by Ullman. Ritchie County finally got on the board thanks to an inside bucket by James, who pulled down nine rebounds.

Ullman and Boice added a 3 apiece to help head coach Rob Strcula’s club jump ahead 21-2. Ritchie County was able to close the deficit to 24-7 at the end of one thanks to a bucket by Billy Butcher and a triple from Graden McKinney, who had eight markers.

With 4:01 left in the half, Ritchie County’s eighth turnover resulted in an easy layup for Copen as PCHS held a commanding 45-19 advantage.

PCHS, which plays Saturday at St. Marys, led 52-27 at intermission, but coach Strcula wasn’t happy his squad allowed 20 points in the period. It could’ve been worse, but the Rebels went just 3 of 7 from the foul line and that included missing the front end of three 1-and-1s.

“We didn’t play well in the second quarter. We gave up 20 points,” stated Strcula. “We’ve talked about how we got to play 32 minutes. We can’t fall asleep and give 20 points in a second quarter against a team like Central, Williamstown or Notre Dame or we’re going to lose. Right now it’s all about changing our mentality and no days off.

“The guys who are a little inexperienced have to step up and mature. For our experienced guys, they have to understand you can’t take a play off. Right now, we’re talking about mentality. We’ve got to change our mentality and standards and how we do things.”

James had 10 of his points in the third quarter, but PCHS still led 65-38 with 2:17 to go following one of Wade Smitley’s three field goals. Copen’s trey just before the horn put the Rebels in a 73-41 hole entering the final eight minutes.

Peyton Amrine hit three 3s and finished with nine points for the hosts, who connected on 11 of 25 from deep.

Parkersburg Catholic 83, Ritchie County 50

Ritchie 7 20 14 9 — 50

PCHS 24 28 21 10 — 83


Clayton Bee 1 0-2 2, Joey James 10 0-0 26, Michael Sammons 0 0-0 0, Sam Summers 1 0-0 3, Billy Butcher 2 0-0 5, Adam Davis 1 3-6 5, Dakota Wayne 0 0-1 0, Graden McKinney 3 0-0 8, Gabe Murphy 0 1-2 1; TOTALS: 18 4-11 50; 3-point goals: James 6, McKinney 2, Summers, Butcher 1


Peyton Amrine 3 0-0 9, Jeb Boice 7 0-0 16, Cade Ullman 8 7-9 27, Jalen Brunny 1 0-0 2, Patrick Copen 8 1-2 18, Nick Stricker 0 0-0 0, Xavier Collie 2 0-0 5, Aiden Stotts 0 0-0 0, Ethan Lang 0 0-0 0, Wade Smitley 3 0-1 6; TOTALS: 32 8-12 83; 3-point goals: Ullman 4, Amrine 3, Boice 2, Collie, Copen 1

Shooting: RC 18-43 (41.8%), PC 32-59 (54.2%); 3-pointers: RC 10-20, PC 11-25; Rebounds: RC 28 (James 9), PC 30 (Copen 11); Assists: RC 13 (McKinney 4), PC 18 (Boice 10); Steals: RC 7 (McKinney, Murphy 2), PC 13 (Boice 6, Ullman 3); Blocks: RC 1 (McKinney), PC 3 (Ullman, Lang, Brunny 1); Turnovers: RC 22, PC 10

JV score: PCHS 51, RCHS 40

JV scoring: RCHS — Davis 9, Zach Knight 8, Isaac Stone 4, Anthony Rader 15, Aiden Murphy 4; PCHS — Stricker 9, Collie 6, Drew Gill 4, Lang 18, Ben Vierheller 2, Stephen Garvin 12

Next games: Ritchie County at Ravenswood on Friday; Parkersburg Catholic at St. Marys on Saturday.