The Dominion Post  

University wallops Preston in boys’ section opener

Created on:   Wed, Feb 28, 2018   11:46 PM

Last modified:   Wed, Feb 28, 2018   11:46 PM

For The Dominion Post

MORGANTOWN — University High rolled its way into the sectional finals Feb. 28 with a dominating 104-57 win over Preston, at home.

Despite the 47-point victory, Hawks head coach Joe Schmidle was less than thrilled with his team’s performance.

“They just came out there, running up and down the floor and going through the motions. No intensity at all,” he said. “We let [the Knights] score 20 points in the third quarter. That’s ridiculous. I let them know I wasn’t happy.”

Preston kept the game close in the first quarter, trailing just 22-13, but costly turnovers plagued the Knights and allowed University to widen the gap to 53-23, going into the half.

Ten Hawks scored on the night, including five in double digits, led by senior Ethan Ridgeway, who finished with 28 points and four rebounds.

Top-ranked University shot 75 percent from the charity stripe and out-muscled Preston in rebounds, 29-22. The Knights, led by junior Cory Pyles, with 18 points and four boards, finished 8-for-16 in free throws.

First-year head coach Paul Koontz felt optimistic about his team’s future despite only a three-win season for Preston.

“A few players came and went, but it’s a different culture than when we started,” he said. “Our goal was to be more competitive, which we were, but next year we’re going to turn that corner to winning more games. We’ve stressed to our guys that there are 283 days till our next game, and we’ll get back to work in our off-season program next week.”

For University, the next step will be a showdown with crosstown rival Morgantown, slated for Friday. Schmidle said he talked to his players about preparing for what he called “the best defensive team in the state.”

“I told them were in the postseason now. It only takes one mental lapse to end it all,” he said. “We don’t have to worry about relaxing anymore. You’re not going to be able to relax on any team we play from here on out. This separates the men from the boys.”