BECKLEY — University High guard Kaden Metheny is widely considered one of the state’s most explosive and talented players. His teammate, fellow guard K.J. McClurg, is also extremely producitve.
Metheny and McClurg stole the show Saturday, combining for 42 points to carry the Hawks to a convincing 62-39 win over Hedgesville in one of two Class AAA boys championship contests of the Big Atlantic Classic at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center.
“My bench was pretty thin tonight and the kids did a pretty good job,” Hawks coach Joe Schmidle said. “I was really pleased with how disciplined we were on defense tonight. When Hedgesville was nursing the ball and methodical, taking a minute or a minute and a half per possession, we gave up a couple easy ones that I wasn’t happy about. But other than that, I thought the kids did a really good job and we shared the ball again really well.”
The Eagles (12-5) hung tough for the first half, facing just a 20-18 deficit prior to University’s Javier Reyes making a fallaway jumper on the baseline just before the buzzer sounded.
McClurg led all players with 10 points at the break after making three 3s, while the Eagles slowed the pace to hang around, making 6-of-10 field goal attempts to somewhat overcome their 10 first-half turnovers.
Metheny, who scored six first-half points on 2-of-7 shooting, then took the contest over during a third quarter that saw University (13-3) put the game out of reach.
“I talked to Kaden at halftime and he wasn’t happy with his performance in the first half,” Schmidle said.
Metheny scored his team’s first 10 points of the second half, converting a pair of layups and draining two 3s to help the Hawks build a 32-21 lead at the 3:49 mark of the third.
McClurg made two free throws to up the lead to 13, before Metheny connected on a jumper and scored again from close range to aid a 10-0 UHS run that allowed it end the third quarter leading 42-21.
“He got everybody going and we picked up the intensity on defense,” Schmidle said. “We slacked off a little bit after the first quarter. I had a couple kids that had two fouls and we just wanted to get into the locker room and try to come out and make a run in the third. We played more of our style of basketball in the third quarter.”
Metheny made 7-of-10 field goals in the second half to finish with 22 points on 9-for-17 shooting. He also had six assists without a turnover.
McClurg added 20 points and made 5-of-9 3-point tries, while Mike Maumbe scored 10 points in the win.
“We got everybody involved and kept everybody involved in the offense and once we got up in the second half, I could tell we were starting to have fun and the energy picked up,” Schmidle said.
Evan Hosby led Hedgesville with 12 points. The Eagles had only 25 field goal attempts in the loss, while turning the ball over 23 times.
Hedgesville played without leading scorer Sheldon Everhart, who suffered an injury in an earlier game at the Big Atlantic Classic.