The Dominion Post  

Ridgeway powers No. 1 Hawks past Knights

Created on:   Sat, Feb 24, 2018   8:22 PM

Last modified:   Sat, Feb 24, 2018   8:22 PM

The Dominion Post

MORGANTOWN — The University High boys’ basketball team set a school record on Feb. 24, recording its 21st regular-season win during an 83-47 victory against Preston.

The usual suspects chipped in. Ethan Ridegway poured in 24 points on 9 of 13 shooting. Kaden Metheny added 18 points and six assists, while Austin Forbes had 13 points and seven steals.

It was a victory that came after surviving a hot start from the Knights (3-19), who took an early 16-9 lead, before the top-ranked Hawks (21-1) got their full-court pressure going to pull away.

UHS head coach Joe Schmidle said his players felt the effects of limited practice time that has come across the state during a teachers’ strike.

“We played on Wednesday, but haven’t practiced since Tuesday,” he said. “That makes it hard. The kids forgot some of the plays and things I put in off the bench. It makes it hard for both teams. We just need to get in the gym and get more practice.”

The lack of practice time showed, as the top-ranked Hawks limped through a stagnant first quarter.

“Two days of not practicing and trying to play a game was a part of it,” Schmidle said. “Overconfidence was probably the other part and just a lack of execution on our press. Shots weren’t falling, nothing was crisp, and timing was off.”

Cory Pyles nailed three 3-pointers in the first quarter to get Preston going.

The Knights broke through the UHS pressure with ease while the hosts struggled to control the ball, and it looked as if PHS was on track to upset the Hawks.

“I called a timeout there in the first, and made an adjustment on our press we needed to do, and we scored 11 points in 15 seconds,” Schmidle said. “It seemed like they picked up the intensity little bit from then on, and it got a little better.”

The momentum quickly switched as UHS found their groove and adjusted to the Knights’ offense, and the Hawks proceeded to outscore their opponents 33-6 in the final 10 minutes of the first half to take a 42-22 lead into halftime.

“The second quarter has been our problem all year,” PHS head coach Paul Koontz said. “We’ve been up several games, and we’ll have a five, six, seven point second quarter. Today we had a six-point second quarter.”

The Hawks poured on another 25 points in the third quarter, shutting the door for any hope of a PHS comeback.

“We just have to work on handling that full-court pressure better. That’s what started that run for them, and if we get the ball up the floor we’re in a lot better shape,” Koontz said. “They really put the pressure on us.”

The two teams will face each other again, at 7 p.m. Wednesday, in a Class AAA sectional semifinal.

“We’re going to see them again Wednesday, and we hustled and we played hard today,” Koontz said. “We just have to be a little bit smarter and take care of the basketball. Every possession is important.”

Despite the regular season sweep of the Knights, Schmidle and the Hawks aren’t taking the upcoming game lightly.

“None of those first 22 games matter; everyone is 0-0 now,” Schmidle said.