Local Sports, Sports, Trinity Christian

Warriors squander early lead in regular-season finale against Webster County

MORGANTOWN — The Trinity Christian boys’ basketball team had about as good of a first quarter as possible Thursday night against Webster County.

Playing on the Donald Pavelko Court high on the hill in Sabraton, the Warriors dominated the opening eight minutes against the Highlanders and led 17-4 after the first frame.

Trinity eventually led 24-10 midway through the second quarter when, all of a sudden, something flipped and Webster took over. The Highlanders scored the final 15 points of the first half to lead 25-24 at the break and never looked back en route to a 64-56 victory.

“I thought there for a minute we were going to score seven points in a half,” laughed Webster coach Michael Gray. “We’re still young and sometimes it’s maybe nerves a little bit. (Trinity is) big and we just weren’t playing with our physicality. They kind of got relaxed and started playing, pushing the ball a little bit.”

In addition to the 15-point run in the second, the Highlanders (15-7) also went on a 14-point run in the third to really put some distance between themselves and Trinity (12-10), building a 39-26 advantage.

“Webster County wanted it a lot more than we did and it showed,” Trinity coach Codey Horton said. “We can be a very aggressive team but (Thursday) we got outrebounded, forced so many turnovers and we played scared. Not all of us are going 100% the entire game.”

Early on, Trinity’s defense suffocated Webster. The Highlanders’ only points in the first quarter came on a pair of layups by Dakota Blankenship. Then, they started moving the ball better and exploded for 21 points in the second quarter and 27 in the third.

“We started the season with our motto, ‘no quit,’” Gray said. “That’s how these guys have been playing when we’ve been down a couple of times. Sometimes you just never know with kids how they’re going to play, then they get moving and get it rolling and they’ve got some game in them.”

Ashton Moll and Logan Leichliter came off the bench for Webster in the second quarter and provided a spark with seven second-quarter points each. Leichliter’s three-pointer at the end of the first half ended a 15-0 Webster run and gave the Highlanders their first lead of the game, 25-24, at halftime.

Riley Clevenger led the Highlanders with 17 points while Leichliter finished second with 14. Rayden Triplett had 10, Moll finished with nine and Blankenship added eight.

For the Warriors, their offense started to struggle when senior Levi Teets went to the bench with two fouls in the second quarter. 

“Levi’s one of our best ball handlers,” Horton said. “We had no leadership in the second quarter and he’s our leader.”

Chayce Adams led the Warriors with a game-high 26 points while Carter Hartsock and Lucas Kniska each scored nine.

It was a sour note for the Warriors to end their regular season on as they will next play in the Class AA Region II, Section 2 semifinal Wednesday night at Braxton County. Trinity is the No. 3 seed in the section and Braxton is No. 2.

Top-seeded Webster County will host no. 4 Richwood in the Class A Region III, Section 1 semifinal on Tuesday.

Webster County 64, Trinity 56

WC 4 21 27 12 — 64

TC 17 7 11 21 —56

Webster — Triplett 5 0-0 10; Clevenger 7 1-2 17; Blankenship 4 0-0 8; McMillion 1 0-4 2; Miller 2 0-3 4; Leichliter 4 3-4 14; Moll 4 1-2 9.

Trinity — Kniska 4 0-0 9; Adams 7 9-11 26; Teets 1 2-2 4; Hartsock 4 1-2 9; Lohman 3 0-0 6; Hancox 1 0-0 2.

3 Pt. Goals — Webster County 5 (Leichliter 3, Clevenger 2). Trinity 4 (Adams 3, Kniska 1).

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