ELLENBORO - It took a little more than a quarter for Parkersburg Catholic to shake off the cobwebs in its season-opener at Ritchie County Tuesday night.
The second-ranked Crusaders used a 14-1 run to close out the second quarter and establish a comfort zone for the duration in a 63-50 victory.
Jake Ullman scored 13 of his game-high 29 points in a second quarter which saw PCHS outscore Ritchie County, 28-11. Teammate Joe Padden joined Ullman in double figures with 16 points and also pulled down eight rebounds.
Photo by Kerry Patrick
Parkersburg Catholic coach Rob Strcula talks to his players just before the opening tip of Tuesday’s game at Ritchie County. The second-ranked Crusaders defeated the Rebels, 63-50.
Just before intermission, the Crusaders recorded three steals in succession, which led to layups and six points in a span of 37 seconds.
"I think we wore them down," PCHS coach Rob Strcula said.
"We had a lot of pressure on the basketball - we didn't want them to run plays."
"This win feels good because you get the first game jitters out. We still have a lot of things to work on, but we did a lot of things well."
As far as Parkersburg Catholic is concerned, there is no time to rest on its laurels.
Following a road trip Friday to top-ranked Charleston Catholic is a Saturday afternoon home game with Tyler Consolidated. The Crusaders get right back at it on Monday at seventh-ranked Notre Dame.
"I think maybe five teams have won at Charleston Catholic in eight years," Strcula said. "But this is what our team is built for. They are going to face a lot of challenges and our schedule is set up for that."
Ritchie County had Parkersburg Catholic on the ropes early after pulling out to an 8-7 lead after one quarter. The Rebels gained the advantage in the final 15 seconds when Riley Allen's lay-in off an assist from A.J. Collins was followed by Collins' steal and ensuing lay-up.
The freshman point guard, however, missed the entire second half due to sickness.
The last Ritchie County lead of the game occurred at 11-10 on one of six 3-pointers from Seth Cottrill, who finished with a team-high 26 points.
The junior accounted for the first 10 Rebel points of the second quarter and kept his ballclub within striking distance at 21-18.
"Cottrill is a good shooter, but we have to play smarter," Strcula said. "Whether we are playing man or zone, we have to recognize who the shooters are."
In the final three minutes of the first half, PCHS began its surge with back-to-back 3-pointers from Padden and Ullman.
The 16-1 run extended into the second half on a bucket from Brady Kurucz which gave Parkersburg Catholic a 37-19 lead.
Ritchie County (1-2) closed to within 14 points on several occasions, but the Crusaders pulled ahead by 21 points at 55-34 after a seven-point run to end the period.
Also scoring in double figures was Allen, who despite picking up his third foul midway in the second quarter finished with 11 points and 13 rebounds.