Local Sports, Sports, University

UHS boys hold off 2nd-half comeback in 68-55 win

MORGANTOWN — The University Hawks played classic team basketball and held off a second-half comeback attempt by their visitors in a 68-55 win over St. Clairsville (Oh.) Friday night on Bakers Ridge.

“We didn’t shoot real well and weren’t very patient, which let them back in the game in the second half,” UHS coach Joe Schmidle said. “But I thought our guys who came in off the bench did a nice job and we got to play a lot of people a lot of minutes and get some valuable experience.”

Nine out of the 10 players who saw the floor for the Hawks (10-8) scored at least one field goal Friday as University’s up-tempo play confounded the visiting Red Devils (9-11) early on.

St. Clairsville struggled with both turnovers and fouls in the first quarter, giving the ball away six times and losing two starters — Cole Thoburn and Luke Porter — to the bench with two fouls apiece.

“A little bit (sped up) would be an understatement,” St. C. coach Ryan Clifford admitted. “They did a good job of jumping out on every screen and being physical without fouling. Once we adapted to it, it was a little bit too late by then.”

University led 19-7 after the first quarter and 37-21 at halftime. The Hawks’ lead grew as large as 21, 46-26, in the third, but the Red Devils used a 13-4 scoring run to make it just a 12-point game heading into the final frame.

“Our defense wasn’t as good in the second half as it was in the first half,” Schmidle said. “We had some missed assignments and people out of position so we’ve still got a lot of work to do.

“We took stupid shots. We weren’t passing the ball, it was one pass or no pass and taking shots that weren’t open or shooting threes off the bounce. We thought the game was over and played like we were out on the playground and you can’t do that.”

Porter came alive after halftime for the visitors, scoring 11 of his team-high 17 points in the third quarter.

“We got strong with the ball and didn’t allow their pressure to bother us,” Clifford said. “They gave good effort at the defensive end and we just relaxed, we settled down and got used to the speed of the game and started to execute better.”

St. Clairsville cut the lead to just 10 points, 58-48, at the start of the fourth, but University switched to a 2-3 defensive zone and started playing more deliberately on offense to slow the game down and secure the win.

Junior point guard Rafael Barcinas was brilliant for the Hawks, stuffing the stat sheet with a game-high 18 points, five rebounds, six assists and four steals.

Sophomore Demarcus Bandy also shined for the home team, finishing second with 12 points and seven rebounds.

Senior Landon Cool finished with nine points and was University’s primary defender on Thoburn, who was held scoreless in the first half and finished with nine points.

“He does a lot for us and he doesn’t get very much credit,” Schmidle said of Cool. “He came up with some super big rebounds (Friday) at some really critical times. We started him tonight and put him on (Thoburn) and he did a great job, I’m really proud of his performance.”

Carson Ford also scored nine for the Hawks, with seven of those points coming during the slower-paced fourth quarter. As a team, the Hawks went 10 of 11 from the free-throw line.

Tyson Pastor was second for St. C. with 15 points and Jacob Parsons had 11. 

University will play at home twice next week, hosting Elkins on Thursday and Spring Mills Saturday. St. Clairsville’s next game is Thursday at Wheeling Park.

University 68, St. Clairsville 55

StC 7 14 21 13 — 55

UHS 19 18 18 13 — 68

St. Clairsville — Thoburn 3 2-3 9; Porter 7 1-2 17; 7 1-4 15; Schafer 0 1-2 1; 4 3-4 11; Gasber 1 0-0 2.

University — Barcinas 4 8-8 18; Coleman 2 0-0 4; Hudson 2 0-0 6; Cool 4 0-0 9; Bandy 5 2-2 12; Fortney-Garbart 1 0-0 2; Ford 4 0-0 9; Thomas 1 0-0 2; Demidovich 3 0-1 6.

3-Pt. Goals — St. Clairsville 3 (Porter 2, Thoburn 1). University 6 (Barcinas 2, Hudson 2, Cool 1, Ford 1).

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