Local Sports, Sports, University

Ford leads Hawks over Applemen in regular-season finale

MORGANTOWN — The University boys basketball team was down a couple of regulars Thursday evening, but you never would have known it by the way their replacements played as the Hawks closed their regular season with a 66-56 win over visiting Musselman on Baker’s Ridge.

Those replacements set the tone early as senior Carson Ford and sophomore Glenn Brown, making his first varsity start, combined for 18 of the team’s 23 points in the first quarter.

“I was really proud of those guys,” UHS coach Joe Schmidle said. “I thought Glenn Brown did a really good job. He’s been hurt and has had limited minutes all season and he came in and hit some big corner threes.” 

Brown sank a pair of three-pointers in the first frame, but it was Ford who caught fire early, putting through five shots including a pair of triples of his own in the first.

“(I wanted) to just go out there with confidence and not hesitate,” Ford said. “Just do what I do, which is shoot.”

And shoot he did, as Ford finished with a game-high 22 points and four treys. Ford made three of the University’s (12-10) first four baskets and he said it was those early makes that got him going.

“Probably after the first two I knew I was hot because they were from pretty deep,” he said. “A lot of time if I miss the first shot I get in my head that I’m going to miss and I usually don’t have a good game. But when those first couple go in, it’s going to really give me a lot of confidence to keep shooting.”

The Applemen (12-9) tightened their defense on Ford after the first frame, but he still managed to hit two more threes the rest of the way.

“Anybody that knows Carson knows that he’s that guy,” Schmidle said. “If those first couple go in, watch out.”

Thanks to Ford’s early flurry, the Hawks jumped ahead 21-7 in the first six minutes of play. A trio of threes from the Applemen cut the lead to 23-18 at the end of the first quarter. University later led 35-24 at halftime.

“The kids just seem to be playing really well together right now, they’re really unselfish,” Schmidle said. “We had 23 field goals (Thursday) and 19 assists. Anytime you can do that you know people are sharing the ball well.”

Musselman opened the second half with a 7-1 scoring run that made it a five-point game, 36-31, but senior James Fortney-Garbart and Luke Huson each nailed a three-pointer to build University’s lead right back up to 42-31. All told, the Hawks connected 11 times from range on Thursday.

Just as Brown and Ford had down in the first quarter, junior Coen Henderson stepped up in the third, coming off the bench to lead UHS with seven points in the frame.

“Our young guys are doing a great job,” Schmidle said. “I thought Coen Henderson came in and did a fantastic job, just played a complete floor game defensively and offensively.”

Schmidle explained that Henderson missed nearly an entire year of basketball with an injury and has been building his confidence back up all season.

“He had gone almost two years without playing basketball, so it’s taken him a little bit of time to get comfortable,” Schmidle said. “But the Coen Henderson that we knew he could be, he’s coming around and he’s getting there.”

The Applemen had one final push in them for the fourth quarter, but a 7-0 run only made it a 10-point game, 61-51, before University was able to put the game away in the final minutes.

Ford led UHS with 22 points and Henderson was second with 10. Brown and John Coleman each had nine.

Troy Wollaston led Musselman with 14 points while Anden Santamaria scored 10 off the bench.

University moves onto the postseason now and will host Preston in a Class AAAA Region I, Section 2 semifinal next Wednesday at 7 p.m.

At halftime, University recognized its junior varsity team which, with a 72-34 win over the Applemen Thursday, finished the season a perfect 18-0.

University 66, Musselman 56
Muss 18 6 18 14 — 56
UHS 23 12 21 10 — 66
MUSSELMAN (12-9) — C. Shelton 2 0-0 5; McClain 3 0-0 8; L. Shelton 1 0-0 2; Mahood 3 1-1 7; Wollaston 5 4-6 14; Santamaria 4 1-1 10; Whyte 0 2-2 2; Bartles 2 0-0 6; Bunny 1 0-0 2; Brown 0 0-0 0.
UNIVERSITY (12-10) — Coleman 3 3-3 9; 3 0-0 9; Brown 2 1-2 7; Ford 8 2-2 22; Fortney-Garbart 2 2-2 7; Lewis 1 0-0 2; Henderson 4 1-4 10.
3-Pt. Goals — Musselman 6 (McClain 2, Bartles 2, C. Shelton 1, Santamaria 1). University 11 (Ford 4, Hudson 3, Brown 2, Fortney-Garbart 1, Henderson 1).