ELLENBORO -Williamstown's role players stepped up their game as the Yellowjackets defeated Ritchie County 55-49 on Monday night.
Chase Brown scored a game-high 14 points, freshman Gage Wix came off the bench to add 12 points and Alex Marchetti pitched in 10 points for a Williamstown outfit which rebounded from a heartbreaking loss at top-ranked St. Marys.
"People's roles are going to change in the next couple of games, and for those guys like Gage, Chase and Alex to step up ... they have to do it now," Williamstown coach Scott Sauro said after his team improved to 12-7 and 7-5 in the Little Kanawha Conference's North Division. "We can't wait."
Ritchie County (8-11, 5-7 LKC North) held Williamstown's top two scorers - Michael Badgley and Case Edgar - without a point for the game's first 14 minutes. Yet, it was individuals like Wix pouring in eight first-quarter points who kept the Yellowjackets within striking distance deep into in the first half.
The Rebels led 23-20 when Williamstown responded with a 9-0 run just before intermission. After a Marchetti bucket, Edgar was on the receiving end of a baseball pass from Brian Reynolds and converted the fast break layup to put the Yellowjackets in front 24-23. After Brown's second 3-pointer of the second quarter, Badgley followed with another fast break layup.
Ritchie County cut the deficit in half at 29-26 when Paige Haught knocked down an NBA 3-pointer just as time expired.
Justin Sage's drive in the lane sliced the gap to one in the opening moments of the third quarter, but Williamstown outscored the Rebels 10-2 in a four-minute span.
Williamstown then went on a dry spell and Ritchie took advantage by scoring the next 10 points. D.J. Burgess, who led the Rebels with 18 points, sank a trey to ignite the run.
Into the first minute of the fourth quarter, the two teams traded leads three times. Brown's three-point play the old-fashioned way gave the Yellowjackets the lead for good at 46-42.
Down the stretch, the difference reached as many as seven points on two different occasions with the last one occurring at 53-46 and only 2 minutes remaining in regulation. Five points was as close as the Rebels could get.
"We fought so hard in that St. Marys game that I was a little worried about a hangover this game against Ritchie County," Sauro said. "But I thought we played hard. The effort was there."
A total of four Williamstown players scored in double figures, including Badgley with 11 points. Teammate Ben Amos pulled down 11 rebounds. For Ritchie County, Haught accounted for 14 points.
"Obviously, Michael and Case have been our go-to guys all year long, and we have had other guys score as well - it's a good feeling for other guys to step up," Sauro said.
"Chase Brown played outstanding. He also did a nice job defensively."