’Jackets playing well together

Photo by Jay W. Bennett Williamstown’s Xavier Caruthers (23) provides some help defense as Jason Clayton of St. Marys looks for a teammate to pass to during a game earlier this year. The Class A third-ranked undefeated Yellowjackets play host this evening to rival and eighth-ranked Parkersburg Catholic.

WILLIAMSTOWN– Returning all five starters from last year’s 18-6 team, head coach Scott Sauro was expecting another solid season for his Williamstown Yellowjackets boys team, but he wasn’t expecting a start like this.

The 9-0 Yellowjackets are outscoring teams 64-46 and are ranked third in the Class A Associated Press writers polls. Though undefeated, Sauro believes that the team hasn’t been playing “perfect” basketball.

“We haven’t been perfect by any stretch of the imagination and we have been able to show the guys in film some of things that we can improve upon,” Sauro said.

The longer a team goes without losing, the more opposing teams want to be the one that finally puts a L in the column. The Yellowjackets’ most recent game proves it, coming away with a 76-62 overtime road win against Ravenswood Tuesday. With each win the pressure gets bigger and bigger, but it’s something that the team is not thinking about according to senior Cullen Cutright.

“We don’t need to worry about it, we just need to worry about the next possession and making plays that gives us the chance to win,” Cutright said.

The scheduled starts to pick up playing rival Parkersburg Catholic twice, hosting Marietta on Jan. 19 and going to Greenbrier West Feb. 6. A big test will be on the road playing fourth-ranked and defending Class A state champs Wheeling Central Jan. 26. Sauro beefed up the schedule to see what they can do against some great competition.

“It’s a measuring stick,” he said. “Guys know it gets tough, but you have to get better every day.”

Cutright may arguably be the best big man in the Little Kanwaha Conference. A very athletic big man, the 6-foot-5 Cutright can run up and down the court and is a good leader making him a coach’s dream.

Making first team all-LKC and third team all-state last season, Cutright has upped his scoring averages to 18.2 points per game, total points 146 and 54 rebounds so far in the season. Cutright has had a pair of 20-point games, with a season-high 27 points versus Wood County Christian. He scored a total of 46 points in two games, as the Yellowjackets defeated Buffalo to win the Wirt County Holiday Tournament in December.

Guard Xavier Caruthers is a player that can get hot in a hurry. He put that skill on display early in season by scoring 18 points off the bench against Wood County Christian. Averaging 9.3 points per game, Caruthers is a threat from 3, draining eight of them against St Marys and six versus Ravenswood.

Not playing like a sophomore, Caruthers is still far from a finished product and can improve even more according to Sauro.

“He has the potential to shoot it very well,” Sauro said. “Young kid, he’s learning and is getting better against pressure. We are happy he stepped up for us.”

Point guard Boston Caruthers provides leadership on both sides of the ball, handles the ball well and is one of the best wing defenders on the team. He tied his younger brother Xavier with 15 points versus St. Marys.

Eli Inman is a 6-4 junior who can play many roles for Sauro. He can rebound, post up in the paint and has even played point guard at times this season. His season-high was 12 points against Magnolia.

What separates a good team from a great team is having role players who can be counted on when situation calls for it. Senior guard Trent Lynch, junior post Isaac Cutright and sophomore forward Baylor Haught make up the supporting cast for the Yellowjackets. When called upon, all three have had big roles in games that have kept the Yellowjackets undefeated.

Haught had 17 points and 12 rebounds in game at the start of the season. Lynch drained four 3s and led the in points team in the 62-37 road win against Magnolia with 12 points. While older brother Cullen was in foul trouble throughout the St Marys game, Isaac Cutright’s final 11 points in the third quarter helped defeat St. Marys 58-45.

“We have a good team here,” Boston Caruthers said. “We care about each other and are quickly there for someone if they are struggling.” Boston Caruthers said.

The Yellowjackets will try to improve to 10-0 as they host LKC rival Parkersburg Catholic today.