‘Jackets cruise into AA semifinal
CHARLESTON — Baylor Haught came out hot.
The Williamstown senior tallied nine of his team’s first 12 points en route to a 21-point, 12-rebound double-double to lead the Yellowjackets past Moorefield 67-32 in Tuesday’s W.Va. Class AA state quarterfinal at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center.
“It was OK,” joked Williamstown head coach Scott Sauro. “What a great game by him. What’s funny about it is, he took 15 shots, and that’s got to be a career-high in attempts. He would be the first to tell you, a lot of it is a byproduct of his teammates finding him when he gets open.
“I’ve said it a million times — he’s the heartbeat of this team. He gets after it, he’s a leader and his effort is contagious.”
Xavier Caruthers added 15 points while Sam Cremeans chipped in 12 points and six boards. Garret Hill contributed six assists and four steals while Gavin Bosgraf netted four and three.
“Gavin Bosgraf and Garret Hill are just great passers,” said Haught, who also blocked two shots. “They were just finding me when I was open. It really was right place, right time.”
Moorefield, which started the season 1-11 before winning five straight to get to Charleston, made just 14 of its 53 shot attempts (26.4%). The Yellow Jackets were 3 for 25 (12%) from the 3-point line. Their top point-getter this season, big man Jayson See, was held scoreless.
“The biggest thing was we weren’t hitting shots,” said Moorefield head coach Scott Stutler. “They were hitting some shots and we weren’t. That changes the game pretty quick. We were struggling to find it in the first half. We kept playing, but it wasn’t in our favor.
“They were taking away Jaydon See. They were playing good help defense on him. It was really tough to get the ball inside.”
See attempted just three shots, but did grab a team-high eight rebounds.
“He was the focal point of our defense,” Sauro said. “We really wanted to limit him. They won their last five games and we felt like a big reason for that was the energy he brought to them.”
Haught’s big first quarter, plus five points from Cremeans, helped Williamstown take a 14-7 lead going into the second period.
The top-seeded ‘Jackets outscored Moorefield 13-5 in the quarter to take a 27-12 halftime lead. Caruthers and Cremeans scored four points apiece in the period and Hill had a big three-point play.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Caruthers early in the third put Williamstown up 20.
“Once you see one go in, it just kind of flows,” Caruthers said. “It helped that my teammates got me the ball in good positions.”
Later, a basket by Trevor Oates, five straight points from Caruthers and a trey by Alex Irvin gave Williamstown a 46-23 cushion with eight minutes to play.
Kent Wigal’s basket at the 5:07 mark in the fourth put Williamstown up 30. The biggest lead of the night came on Ryan Wager’s layup with 50 seconds remaining to make it 65-29.
“We were happy to be here obviously, with the COVID situation,” Sauro said. “We came out and, really for the entire game, defended pretty well. Our communication was great. The kids were doing the things in our man defense that we asked them to do to be successful. That gave us a chance to limit them offensively. Early in the game we didn’t shoot great from the perimeter, but defense travels. If you’re not shooting well, defense can carry you. It certainly did early tonight.”
Williamstown (15-1) now plays Chapmanville at 1 p.m. Friday in the double-A semifinals. Chapmanville was a 46-38 winner over Clay County Tuesday in the quarterfinals.
Moorefield (6-12) was paced by Coleman Mongold’s eight points. Dean Keplinger added seven points and three dimes.