Metheny and McClurg combine for 36 to lead University past Preston

KINGWOOD — A solid start for the Preston boys’ basketball team did not last long against the No. 2-ranked team in the state.

University High cruised to a 92-49 victory on Thursday, as its backcourt duo of KJ McClurg (17 points) and Kaden Metheny (19) combined for 36 points.

The Knights got off to a nice start with a big block, several forced turnovers, and pair of transition lay-ups that led to a 5-0 lead.

It also served as a wake-up call for the Hawks (18-3).

They ripped out to a 30-2 run the rest of the quarter, then emptied the bench and cruised to the win.

UHS also got strong contributions from Ryan Niceler (14 points, seven rebounds) and from its bench. Tyler Belt scored 14 and Jared Reyes hit a pair of 3-pointers.

The Knights (5-17) were led by Zach Shannon’s 11 points, and Nick Smith also got into double figures with 10.

“We got the W, and we came out healthy, and those were our two main goals,” Hawks coach Joe Schmidle said. “We were especially happy with our balance tonight on offense. The focus all year has been to develop secondary scoring options beyond our big two up top, KJ and Kaden, and it was good to see Niceler be so productive.”

While UHS has big goals — getting past the state semifinal round, where they’ve lost the past two seasons — Knights coach Paul Koontz knows his hopes are more on a solid future, but with an appreciation of his current team’s battle level.

“We played with spirit, and never gave up,” he said.

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