Local Sports, Sports, University

Wheeling Park earns gritty victory over University behind 35 points from Aiden Davis

MORGANTOWN — There was a battle atop Baker’s Ridge on Wednesday evening at University High School as the No. 5 Wheeling Park Patriots visited the UHS Hawks for a Class AAAA Region 1 boys hoops matchup.

Junior guard Aiden Davis scored 35 of his team’s 54 points to help lift the Patriots (8-2) to a 54-45 victory over the Hawks (5-5) on the road. Davis, a second-team all-state selection from last season, shot 11 for 21 from the field, including 6 for 12 from three-point range. Senior Mykel Davis added nine points, five rebounds, and three assists for WP.

The Hawks were led in scoring by seniors Luke Hudson, who contributed three triples of his own, and John Coleman with 11 points each. Junior guard Ethan Jackson dished out seven of his team’s 13 assists.

“We came back and took the lead after going down by nine and I was proud of our effort in doing that,” UHS head coach Joe Schmidle said. “They’re a good team and we just didn’t have a few bounces or calls or shots go our way and we had some inopportune turnovers when we didn’t need them.”

Leading 10-9 after a defensive first quarter, the Hawks began to give the ball away on offense. The Patriots forced turnovers on nearly every possession that UHS had in the second quarter, holding the hosts to only one field goal and six total points in the frame, using a 10-0 run after trailing 12-9 to take a lead that grew to eight points at halftime, 24-16.

“That is a great, well-coached team and they fought hard,” WP coach Michael Jebbia said. “We grew a good lead there but that’s kind of been the story all year for us with not keeping those leads. They fought back hard but Aiden Davis decided to take the game over for us tonight and made the difference.”

Davis’s fifth three of the game with 2:00 to go in the third quarter extended the Park lead to 34-25, but Coleman answered with a layup for UHS on the other end, followed by a defensive stop and another basket by freshman Khalil Lewis that cut the lead to five going into the fourth quarter.

The Hawks began the fourth quarter with a quick 7-0 run, sparked by Hudson, that gave them a two-point lead (their first since 12-9 in the opening quarter), 39-37.

But Davis continued to put his team on his shoulders offensively, converting a crucial and-one play to steal the lead back 40-39 midway through the fourth.

UHS took the lead right back with a pair of free throws, 41-40, but with 4:00 to go in the game the Patriots flipped a switch and outscored the Hawks 14-4 for the remainder of the game. Eventually, the Hawks were forced to foul but WP was able to ice the game at the line finishing 13 for 15 and earning a tough 54-45 win.

“We beat ourselves,” Schmidle said. “We started forcing shots and weren’t being patient in our offense. It kind of snowballed once the momentum died and it was hard to dig out of.”

It won’t get any easier for the Hawks as they welcome crosstown rival and No. 2-ranked Morgantown on Friday night. The Patriots will travel to Buckhannon-Upshur on Saturday before hosting Morgantown next Wednesday, Jan. 17

Wheeling Park 54, University 45

WP 9 15 13 17 – 54
UHS 10 6 16 13 – 45
Wheeling Park – A Davis 11 7-7 35; M Davis 2 4-4 9; Johnson 3 0-2 6; Lewis 1 2-2 4.
University – Hudson 4 0-1 11; Coleman 5 1-21 11; Fortney-Garbart 4 1-2 9; Jackson 2 1-4 6; Demadovich 1 1-2 3; Lewis 1 2-2 4; Byrer 0 1-2 1.
3-Pt. Goals – Wheeling Park 7 (A. Davis 6 M. Davis 1); University (Hudson 3 Jackson 1).