Local Sports, Sports

University High boys’ hoops earn their 8th win in 9 games, sweep Spring Mills

MORGANTOWN — Rewind to Jan. 14. The University boys’ basketball team suffered a 28-point defeat to rival and top-ranked (at the time) Morgantown High and its record fell to below .500 at 5-6. After that, the Hawks would win their next four games, including a triple overtime win against defending class AAAA state champions George Washington before falling to Dover (Ohio) in the OVAC semifinal.

On Saturday, UHS (13-7) hosted Spring Mills (13-7) for the second meeting of the season between the schools (the Hawks bested the Cardinals in overtime three weeks ago). A 77-47 win would give UHS their fourth straight since losing to Dover.

To open the game, UHS would establish a tempo early on, running a matchup 2-3 zone on defense. Good defensive rotation for the Hawks made life difficult for the Cardinals. They only managed four total points, five minutes into the game and would finish the quarter with six as UHS led by nine, 15-6.

Hawks forward Aaron Forbes impacted the game in ways other than scoring the basketball. The inside-out approach of the UHS offense allowed Forbes to find his teammates for good looks multiple times in the first half as he would tally four assists before the break.

“I knew they were going to be double-teaming so whenever they collapsed on defense I just tried to find the open person and it worked when everyone was hitting shots tonight,” Forbes said.

Head coach Joe Schmidle thinks the recent defensive changes made by he and his team have been a big factor for their recent success, particularly the impact Forbes makes in the middle.

“We changed up some things (defensively) and the kids have worked hard at it,” he said of his teams adaptability. “I think Aaron Forbes has been a key to all of that, he’s gotten so many deflections and steals in the paint and he’s done a tremendous job with his hustle.”

The offensive struggles would continue for SMHS as the lead would grow to 27-11 in favor of UHS. Austin Davis would then enter for the Cardinals and hit two threes on back-to-back possessions to cap an 8-2 run to end the half. UHS would lead 30-19.

Kisner and Forbes would make the third quarter their own as they accounted for the first 11 points for the Hawks. Their contribution was well-needed as SMHS found its stride on offense midway through the quarter. Caleb Thomas led Spring Mills with 12 points through three quarters as his team would score 18 points in the third. However, they allowed UHS to explode for 26 points.

The Hawks would find their shooting touch in the second half, making 6 of their 9 triples between the 3rd and 4th. Five different players made a three for UHS as they went 9/20 for the game from deep.

Sophomore James Garbert made 7/8 shots, including 3/3 from deep as he contributed 17 points of his own. SMHS was led by Keshaun Cheek with 14 points.

UHS will return home to host John Marshall on Monday at 7:30 p.m.

TWEET – @ahhh_griff

University (13-7)

Garrison Kisner 9 6-7 20 James Garbart 8 0-0 17 Jaeden Hammack 8 3-3 11 Aaron Forbes 4 3-6 9 Diego Reyes 6 0-0 8 Elija Jackson 6 1-1 8 Charles Nemacek 1 0-0 3 Rafael Barcinas 1 1-2 1

Spring Mills (13-7)

Keshaun Cheek 9 6-9 14 Caleb Thomas 12 1-1 13 Jalen Franklin 6 1-1 7 Austin Davis 3 0-0 6 Max Anderson 2 0-0 4 Kaleb Robsinson 2 0-0 2

UNIVERSITY 15 15 26 12 – 77

SPRING MILLS 6 13 18 10 – 47

Three-pointers – University 9 (Garbart 3, Reyes 2, Hammack 2, Jackson 1, Nemacek 1); Spring Mills 4 (Cheek 2, Davis 2)