Local Sports, Sports, University

University boys advance to sectional championship with 93-35 win over Preston

MORGANTOWN — For the second time in a week, University and the Preston met on the hardwood and for the second time in a week, the UHS offense was too much for PHS, earning a 93-35 win.

Last Thursday, UHS defeated PHS 90-65 by way of the 3-ball as the Hawks shot 17 of 31 from deep. Senior guard Elija Jackson contributed seven of those and scored a season-high 30 points.

On Tuesday night in the first round of the sectional tournament, head coach Joe Schmidle saw his team dominate the Knights in a completely different way. Unlike last week, the Hawks only made four 3s. Instead, it was their ability to force turnovers and rebound the ball on offense.

To open the game, UHS smothered the Knights (0-22) when they had the ball. Despite only shooting 3 of 10 from the field to open the game, the Hawks found themselves leading 8-0 with 3:30 to play in the first and had only allowed PHS to attempt one shot while turning the ball over three times. Six quick points for the Knights came at the end of the quarter, but UHS went on a run of its own to lead 18-6.

Much of the same came to begin the second. UHS continued to control every phase of the game as the dominate-duo of big men Garrison Kisner and Aaron Forbes deemed too much for the Knights to handle. The duo combined for 34 points (17 each) and each posted double-digit rebounds, as well. Schmidle had high praises for his big men, calling Forbes the “bull” and Kisner the “gazelle” when it comes to their athleticism.

“Kisner is more of an over-and-around-you type of guy and Forbes is going to go right through you,” Schmidle said. “I’ve really never had a combination of two post players that way, we’ve been used to guards in the past.”

PHS got five points in the quarter but couldn’t find a groove as UHS blew the lead open at 39-11 with two minutes to play. Balanced scoring throughout the first half showed the depth of the Hawks, which allowed them to finish the half on an 11-4 run and enter the break leading 50-15. Junior Charles Nemacek came off the bench for the Hawks to contribute 12 points on a perfect 5 of 5 from the floor. The depth of the Hawks is something Schmidle knows helps in the postseason.

“If [Nemacek] keeps playing the way he’s been playing, it’s going to be huge for us,” Schmidle said. “He’s about 6’3, he’s really good at getting position and has done a great job at finishing around the basket. It’s also nice to be able to have someone come in to give Forbes and Kisner a break when they need it.”

Beginning the third, Knights forward Mason Sargent would heat up, scoring two long 3s on back-to-back possessions. The story of the third quarter (and second half) however, was free-throw shooting for UHS. Just three minutes into the third quarter, PHS had already committed seven fouls and the Hawks were shooting free throws for the rest of the game. UHS attempted 30 total free throws, converting 21 of them. Kisner and Forbes combined for 18 attempts. To end the third, Kisner took the ball with no one between he and the basket and would throw down a 360 dunk that ignited the crowd.

UHS will host Bridgeport, which beat Buckhannon-Upshur on Tuesday, in the sectional championship game at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Preston (0-22)

Mason Sargent 15 0-0 17 Kaden Bechtel 2 2-2 6 Trevor Thomas 7 1-2 4 Cordell Ayers 4 1-2 3 Stephan Felton 6 1-4 3 Zach Farrell 2 0-0 2

University (16-7)

Garrison Kisner 9 7-10 17 Aaron Forbes 9 5-8 17 Charles Nemacek 5 2-2 12 Jaeden Hammack 9 3-3 12 Elija Jackson 10 1-2 11 Rafael Barcinas 5 2-2 6 John Coleman 2 0-0 4 Landon Cool 7 1-2 4 Diego Reyes 4 0-1 4 James Garbart 3 0-0 4

UNIVERSITY 18 32 24 19 – 93

PRESTON 6 9 11 9 – 35

Three-pointers: University 4 (Jackson 2, Cool 1, Hammack 1); Preston 6 (Sargent 5, Thomas 1)

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