Williamstown routs St. Marys boys, 64-41
WILLIAMSTOWN — Big man Kent Wigal drained a corner 3 before the break to give Williamstown a lift and the host Yellowjackets clamped down defensively after intermission here Tuesday night en route to a 64-41 Little Kanawha Conference victory versus rival St. Marys in a battle of top-five ranked Class AA programs.
Xavier Caruthers’ 3 put the ‘Jackets up 26-18 early in the second, but Waylon Moore found Brandon Lawhon open from beyond the arc and the Blue Devil answered the triple with one of his own as it hit the back of the box, went high above the backboard and then came down straight through the net. That started a 9-2 spurt which also featured a made foul shot by Ben Long and then a deuce and another trifecta from Lawhon to make it 28-27.
Head coach Scott Sauro later called a timeout with 14.9 left in the half and the end result was the dagger by Wigal.
“He hadn’t hit a 3 all year. He might have shot one or two in a JV game, but he hasn’t shot any in a varsity game,” admitted coach Sauro, whose top-ranked ‘Jackets improved to 10-1 and take on Clay County around 8 p.m. Monday in the LKC Night of Champions title game inside Glenville State College’s Waco Center. “We’re happy he hit it. It gave us a little momentum going into the second half.
“That’s a really good team and we have a ton of respect for them. They are going to be a tough out for anybody as we get into tournament play. I was proud of our kids, for us to be short-handed like we were. We didn’t have Garret Hill or Alex Irvin and to put on a pretty good performance, especially in the second half.”
After the opening eight minutes, No. 4 St. Marys found itself trailing 20-12. Grant Barnhart had 10 of his team-high 22 counters in the frame.
Sam Cremeans bucketed 15 of his game-high 27 points in the opening stanza and then opened the second with a 3 just 11 ticks in from a Gavin Bosgraf dish to give WHS its first double-digit advantage.
“That’s my gambling luck. I was glad he shot it. I didn’t think he’d make it and it goes right in,” said Blue Devil boss Mark Barnhart of Wigal’s make. “We weren’t in the game at all at home (71-46 loss on March 11). A month later and we come down here and for a half it’s a competitive high school basketball game. We feel like here’s what we can talk about where we started and where we finished. That’s kind of how we approached it.
“Today, we had an issue with officials and Rex Foster and them took care of us and came and did it. God bless them. I appreciate them doing that for us. That was good for us to come down here and play because we wanted to see where we were at, had we made any progress and I think we proved for the first half that we did. The second half it got away from us, but that’s because they are a good team. They caused a lot of that and made the adjustments.”
St. Marys, now 10-3 with a 7 p.m. only varsity game Friday at Magnolia, will play in the LKC consolation game at 6 p.m. Monday versus a yet to be determined opponent.
Bosgraf opened the second half with a three-point play as the hosts took control with an 11-2 run. Ryan Wager, who made a trio of 3s and finished with 15 points, followed with two foul shots and then a bomb. Cremeans, who had a game-high six rebounds, capped the run with a putback and converted the and-1 for the 41-29 cushion at the 4:42 mark.
“It was a big game for us. We knew it was huge,” said Cremeans, who watched teammate Baylor Haught get a putback midway through the fourth for a 58-37 advantage and later a Trevor Oates lay-in down the middle of the lane for the final points of the affair. “That (Monday versus Tyler Consolidated) was the first time we played in like 10 days. It was good to get back.
“A bit of a break and we had to knock off the rust a little bit. He (Wigal) knocked it down and we couldn’t ask for much more than that. It was great. That was a momentum changer. Our plan was to come out with the same intensity we did the first half. We held them to 14 points.”
Caruthers, who had a game-high seven assists, joined Lawhon in scoring eight markers.
“Sam kind of carried us early and then I thought our whole team got going a little more in the second half,” added coach Sauro. “Ryan Wager gave great minutes.
“He’s playing smart and that’s what we need him to do. We were really proud of his effort, even on the defensive end.”
St. Marys, which got two blocks from Luke Powell, shot 31.8% (14 of 44) while the ‘Jackets knocked down 23 of 44 for 52.3%.
Contact Jay Bennett at firstname.lastname@example.org