Joe Smith, Local Sports, Sports, University

Kaden Metheny records 12 steals as Hawks race to OVAC finals

MORGANTOWN, W. Va. — Kaden Metheny has a confession: He’s a bit of a pickpocket.
The junior guard doesn’t pursue cash, phones, or wallets; he’d rather take basketballs.
On Tuesday, he recorded 12 steals as University downed visiting Steubenville (Ohio), 110-66, at University High, in an OVAC semifinal game.
As a team, the Hawks had 22 steals, with Kyle Smith nabbing four and Ryan Niceler adding three. Head coach Joe Schmidle credited the team’s intense effort defensively as one of the deciding factors in the game.
“We like to pressure the ball in man-to-man, but he’s really been feasting on people,” Schmidle said. “When you have someone’s guards bothered by your ball pressure, then a lot of times they’re not seeing other things that are going on down the court.
“We had a lot of missed assignments on defense, but between Kyle Smith, KJ McClurg, and Kaden Metheny having so much pressure on their guards, they couldn’t see those guys were open. We got away with a lot tonight because of their effort.”
Metheny, who added 24 points to record a double-double, exposed a mismatch against Steubenville guard Josh Zimmerman, plucking the ball from his hands with ease and disrupting the Big Red offense from the point of attack.
“He’s a real good player, and we knew we had to try and shut him down,” Metheny said. “That was our game plan.”
Metheny attributes his knack for thievery to a tried-and-true method passed onto him from his father; you always keep your eyes on your opponent’s belly-button.
“I don’t focus on anything else. I was taught that from a young age and I’ve done it my entire life,” he said. “I know I’ve got my teammates behind me if I get beat.”

Bucklew, Maumbe, Niceler excel Inside
Critics have been quick to call University a two-man show, powered by the dynamic backcourt of McClurg (he scored 30 on Tuesday) and Metheny. There’s a trio working inside the paint for the Hawks looking to prove that isn’t the case.
Rodney Bucklew and Ryan Niceler combined for 27 points, 14 rebounds, five assists, and four blocks while working the paint against Steubenville, imposing their will physically.
Despite early foul trouble, Mike Maumbe added five points, five assists, three rebounds, a block.
“We’ve really been working on that with those guys. Our front line has really, really improved, and they’ve made us such a better basketball team,” Schmidle said. “We knew those kids had the ability, and we were waiting for it to show. I think they realized they needed to step up for this team to reach our full potential.”