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Big Reds fall to Knights, 42-40

Photo by Jay W. Bennett Parkersburg’s Braeden Mason has his shot blocked by Cabell Midland’s Jake Edwards during the Knights’ 42-40 Class AAA, Region IV, co-final victory Tuesday night inside Memorial Fieldhouse.

PARKERSBURG — No. 8 Cabell Midland survived what would’ve been a miracle 3 by host Parkersburg here Tuesday night inside Memorial Fieldhouse during a Class AAA, Region IV, co-final as the Knights nipped the Big Reds, 42-40.

The victory for head coach Rick Chaffin’s squad allowed the Knights to advance to the state tournament for the fourth time in school history and the first since CMHS won it all in 2002.

Freshman Chandler Schmidt had a chance to ice the game with 4.1 ticks to go, but missed both ends of the double-bonus. Jake Johnson rebounded the ball and kicked out to Dylan Shaver, who took a couple of dribbles and fired a long pass to Sam Potts in the corner. Although the play was designed for Potts to shoot, he did a leaping one-touch pass to a wide-open Jacob McKnight. Although McKnight got the long 3 attempt off with less than a half second remaining, the high-arcing shot hit the glass and nearly banked in, but caromed off the iron.

“They are way, way better than their record,” Chaffin said of the 6-18 Big Reds, who handed the Knights a 64-60 loss in late January at Memorial Fieldhouse. “They can play with anybody.

“We played eight kids and they all contributed. We’ve been a defensive team all year. I know they shut us down. They just played good defense during our lull and then I felt like our defense stepped up too.”

PHS, which was held to its lowest scoring total of the year, had a 22-14 halftime cushion. Part of that was because the red and white hit 10 of 20 field goals. The other part was the Big Reds’ defense, which held the Knights scoreless for a span of 7:26 in the first half, turning an 8-4 deficit into a 17-8 advantage with 4:41 left in the second following a Carter Stone 3.

Jake Edwards’ lay-in off a baseline move for part of his game-high 12 points finally gave the visitors their first lead since the opening stanza at 34-33 with 5:30 left in the fourth. Although Braeden Mason made a bucket and converted 1 of 2 from the charity stripe following an intentional foul to make it 36-34, Tanner Paugh came through with the tying deuce and Ty Sturm’s 12-foot turn around jumper gave CMHS the lead for good with 2:34 to play.

“We tend to start slow, but we always come out with the aggression and we never lose hope,” said Sturm, who along with his eight counters had a game-high 11 rebounds and joined Shaver for game-high assist honors with five apiece.

“We’re rewriting history out here. Straub came in and had a little error at the free-throw line, but he bounced back. It means more than the world to me. One of my dreams was always to go to state.”

Cabell Midland, which made just 4 of 9 from the line in the fourth, had one of those misses from Straub, who nearly double-doubled with 10 points and eight rebounds to go along with a pair of blocked shots. With 2:02 to play, Straub made his first foul shot, but it was waived off because he stepped up to the wrong painted line on the floor.

Nonetheless, the senior answered a pair of McKnight foul shots with two of his own to give the Knights a 42-38 cushion with 11 seconds left. Shaver, who led the hosts with 10 points and seven caroms, got a putback with 4.8 to go.

“I’m just crushed for them,” said PHS head coach Jeff Mennillo, whose squad missed 15 of 17 field goal attempts in the fourth. “God, those guys are such a great group of guys. The adversity they had and to come back so hard and represent their school so well.

“Sammy (Potts) on his own threw it to Jacob. It kind of just happened. I know it’s hard to brag about our 6-18 team. People have no idea how much character and toughness those guys had. We got the shots. We got good shots. They just didn’t fall.”

Kionte Peacock tallied all eight of his markers in the first half for the Big Reds, who also received six points and five rebounds from Potts. Johnson added a game-high three steals.

Cabell Midland advances to the state quarterfinals as the No. 6 seed. The Knights will play at 7:15 p.m. next Thursday in Charleston against third-seeded George Washington, which won the only meeting between the two Mountain State Athletic Conference programs, 76-68, in Ona.

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