Webster County wins Class A state title, finishes season undefeated

CHARLESTON — It didn’t come easily, but Class A No. 1 Webster County became the first 28-0 team in the history of West Virginia high school basketball.

The Highlanders overcame a nine-point halftime deficit Saturday against No. 6 Parkersburg Catholic and made plays down the stretch to claim a 47-40 victory at the Charleston Coliseum.

Webster County High, which sprang from consolidation in 1974, claimed its first team state championship in any sport. It became Class A’s first unbeaten team since Paden City went 27-0 in 1987.

Dorian Groggs scored 21 points — 14 in the fourth quarter.

“I’m still on a high right now,” Highlanders’ coach Michael Gray said. “It was a great game. These kids keep showing how good they are. We came out in the second half and got after them on defense. That was the turning point in the game.”

Parkersburg Catholic (19-8) held a six-point lead in the fourth quarter after Ty Sturm’s jumper.

But Webster County played its best basketball over the final 7:36 and outscored PC 17-4.

Groggs produced a personal 12-0 run. He made two free throws, then made a steal leading to his layup. His 3-pointer put Webster County on top for good with 4:33 left, and he followed with a layup and another 3.

“My adrenaline went up and I was ready to go,” Groggs said.

Trailing 42-36, Parkersburg Catholic scored the next four points to make it a two-point game with 2:34 left. But Groggs and Tyler Gray combined for 5-of-6 free throws in the final 90 seconds.

The Highlanders fed off their abundance of crowd support.

“We brought up seven buses today and some kids drove 45 minutes to the high school just to catch the bus,” coach Gray said. “That atmosphere was awesome. I haven’t been to a state tournament with an atmosphere like that. Our fans are amazing.”

Drew Holcomb added 12 points and nine rebounds for Webster. “I knew this was the state championship and every shot counts,” Holcomb said.

Trailing 25-16 after a sluggish first half, the Highlanders flipped the game in the third quarter.

Holcomb scored seven straight points, turning a 30-21 PC lead into a two-point game.

“We extended our [2-3 zone] defense clear out to halfcourt,” coach Gray said.

In the second half, the Highlanders dominated 13-0 in points off turnovers and limited PC to 1-of-12 shooting from 3.

“It’s almost like watching Syracuse sometimes. Their length bothers you,” Parkersburg Catholic coach Rob Strcula said.

“We were very deliberate in the first half and we got some good shots and got in the paint. In the second half, they focused in and locked in a little bit better.”

Sturm led the Crusaders with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

Cade Ullman scored 10 points to give him 70 in three games at the state tournament. Jeb Boice battled foul trouble to finish with nine points and six steals.

“It’s going to hurt and it should hurt,” Strcula said.

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