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Hawks begin quick, take down Knights in part semifinal

MORGANTOWN — The primary two conferences between the College and Preston boys’ basketball groups this season featured tightly-contested first halves with the Hawks in the end pulling away ultimately. Issues have been totally different in a Class AAAA Area I, Part 2 semifinal Wednesday as UHS, led by its four-man senior class, got here out of the gates scorching and opened the sport on an 18-0 run en path to profitable 85-42.

“I believed the most important distinction was the vitality that we performed with,” UHS coach Joe Schmidle stated. “I feel our youngsters have been upset with the hassle that we gave final week in opposition to (Preston) they usually needed to come back out and show we have been the higher basketball workforce.”

The Hawks used a relentless full-court press protection that compelled the Knights into extra turnovers than shot makes an attempt within the first quarter.

“We simply got here out desirous to push on the ball so much and hold them up-tempo,” stated UHS senior John Coleman, who led the workforce with 10 factors within the opening body. “These previous two occasions we haven’t achieved a very good job in opposition to them within the first half. We got here out good in our final two practices and we did quite a lot of issues good (Wednesday), particularly with our vitality.”

To make issues worse, Preston struggled to knock down the photographs it did get. The Knights opened 0-5 from the ground till Slaton Manko hit a three-pointer to make it 18-3.

“We struggled within the first half with the press, however we additionally didn’t shoot it effectively,” Preston coach Bucky Forbes stated. “We had hassle flattening some attractiveness and once you don’t shoot the ball effectively, it’s powerful to attain.”

College led 22-3 after the opening eight minutes, with its seniors — Coleman, Luke Hudson, James Forney-Garbart and Carson Ford — accounting for each level. 

“They’ve been enjoying collectively for a very long time and have been actually simply clicking,” Schmidle stated. “We had 25 on 34 baskets. That simply exhibits you ways effectively they’re sharing the ball and the way unselfish they’re being.”

Coleman completed with a game-high 19 factors as these 4 mixed to attain 43.

“Quite a lot of us began coming collectively in center faculty,” Coleman stated. “We’ve all been associates on and off the courtroom and that actually helps after we play collectively.”

Fortney-Garbart scored 9, Ford had eight and Hudson completed with seven. Freshman Kahlil Lewis scored 10, eight of which got here within the third quarter, and 5 different Hawks every had six.

Preston discovered its footing within the second quarter and performed higher after halftime, however the injury had already been achieved because the Knights by no means obtained onto a run to chop into College’s lead.

“We’re a really younger basketball workforce, so we’re nonetheless studying quite a lot of issues,” stated Forbes, who began two sophomores and two juniors. “We have to learn to cease a run and overcome a run.”

Kaden Bachtel led the Knights with 18 factors. Though this season involves an finish for the Knights, their 7-13 report was a marked enchancment from the 1-22 mark in 2022-23.

“We’ve misplaced quite a lot of basketball video games that have been very shut this yr,” Forbes stated. “I feel the subsequent development for us is studying win these shut video games. I feel we very simply may’ve had 12 wins this yr.”

College advances to the part championship, which will likely be performed in opposition to Bridgeport at UHS on Friday at 7 p.m. The Indians defeated Buckhannon-Upshur 53-44 on Wednesday.

College 85, Preston 42
PHS 3 14 17 8 — 42
UHS 22 19 27 17 — 85
PRESTON — Rugg 1 1-2 4; Bachtel 6 5-6 18; Hayes 0 0-0 0; Manko 2 0-0 5; White 1 0-0 2; Smith 0 0-0 0; Schmidl 3 0-0 6; Farrell 1 3-4 5; Graham 1 0-0 2.
UNIVERSITY — Coleman 8 3-3 19; Hudson 3 0-0 7; Brown 2 1-2 6; Ford 3 0-0 8; Fortney-Garbart 4 1-1 9; Jackson 2 0-0 6; Lewis 4 2-3 10; Henderson 2 1-2 6; Karpinski 3 0-0 6; Kleeh 0 0-0 0; Byrer 1 0-0 2; Vira 2 0-0 6.
3-Pt. Targets — 9 (Ford 2, Jackson 2, Vira 2, Hudson 1, Brown 1, Henderson 1).