MORGANTOWN — University’s Kaden Metheny had last season’s charge call against Martinsburg from the state semifinals ingrained in his mind for the last 12 months. The call wiped out the go-ahead bucket that might have moved the Hawks into the championship game.
A year later, it was Metheny that laid flat on his back after being run over by Martinsburg’s Telryn Villa, and this time with it all on the line in Saturday’s state final.
The call went in Metheny’s favor, as did the game for the Hawks (24-4), who won the first basketball championship in school history, 51-45.
“It was definitely a flood of emotions and it brought me right back to that moment,” Metheny said. “I just thought about those seniors from last year, and they were there tonight in the front row watching. I looked right at them and saw them celebrating and this moment was for them.”
The junior point guard finished with 15 points, seven assists, six rebounds and five steals, and K.J. McClurg scored a game-high 20 points and pulled down eight rebounds, but coach Joe Schmidle refused to name an MVP.
“This team’s most valuable player was the whole team,” Schmidle said. “When you have a couple of superstars on your team, and they’re as selfless as [Metheny and McClurg], they bought into what we needed to do to win a state championship. They gave up a lot of points and a lot of accolades in order to win.”
Prior to the season, Metheny was the only known commodity on the team, but as it wore on, roles became clear and it everyone began to click.
An unsung hero was senior Rodney Bucklew. His third quarter helped give the Hawks a cushion that would remain the rest of the way, including an important 3-pointer that gave UHS a 5-point lead for the first time in the game.
“Rodney Bucklew and Tyler Blohm stuck with me for four years and never complained, and I’m gonna miss them,” Schmidle said. “What a special way to go out. Bucklew was tough, he wanted to go out on top and played his butt off this weekend. He’s been a part of 73 wins during his time at University High — that’s something special.”
Bucklew had 10 points and five rebounds.
With Bucklew and Blohm being the only seniors, there will be high expectations heading into next season.
“We wanted to get that one for Rodney with one more win, and we do have a lot of returners and the expectations will be like they always are,” Metheny said. “For now, we’re going to enjoy this one.”