Devils’ delight: St. Marys boys down Williamstown, 53-38

WILLIAMSTOWN – Coming out ”being patient with the ball,” host Williamstown was able to use the slower pace to hang with Class A No. 6 St. Marys for more than a half before the Blue Devils pulled away from the Yellowjackets in the last quarter and a half to notch 53-38 LKC North boys basketball victory Wednesday night.

The win moved St. Marys to 12-1 on the season and 7-1 in the LKC North, while Williamstown, now 3-10 overall, suffered its 10th straight setback.

The Blue Devils, who host No. 4 Class A Parkersburg Catholic – the only team so far to defeat St. Marys – in an important LKC North outing Saturday night, were led by Andrew Cosper with 12 points, all via four treys, Austin Bayless with 11 and Jessy Moore with 10.

The Jackets, still awaiting the return of 6-3 sophomore center Gage Wix – averaging 24 ppg – from an injury early in the season, were paced by Landon Travis with 10 points, Jarric Hoskins with eight and Hunter Neely with seven.

The score after the first quarter was only 5-4 in Williamstown’s favor, as the Yellowjackets, and their head coach Scott Sauro said, ”weren’t trying to ‘hold’ the ball, and not let them have it, but get them to spread out, so we could attack. We didn’t do it consistently, but we wanted to be patient.”

The ploy obviously worked in the first quarter, with St. Marys finally taking a 3-0 lead at 3:21 on a Cosper 3-ball and was up 4-0 at the 2:24 mark before Williamstown tallied the period’s last five points, a Hoskins trey and a Chandler Weber basket. ”St. Marys is so good at running that we didn’t want to give them a bunch of possessions – that was the other part that went into our thinking too,” said Sauro. Nevertheless, the Blue Devils outscored their hosts 23-12 in the second stanza to lead 27-17 at halftime, although the Yellowjackets clawed back within seven as late as 2:45 of the third quarter before St. Marys finished the period with a 6-0 run on field goals by Moore, Colby Brode and Bayless to surge into a 42-29 advantage heading to the fourth quarter. And with three minutes to play and St. Marys ahead 44-33, the Blue Devils turned the tables on Williamstown, going to a four corners offense, with the Jackets having to foul to get the ball back. But St. Marys’ Jordan Whitehair stepped to the foul line three times in a row to sink six straight free throws to put the outcome out of Williamstown’s reach at 50-33 with only 1:36 remaining.

”We saw a similar strategy from Catholic earlier this season, so expected something like this tonight and talked about it the other day, so we were prepared,” said St. Marys head coach Mark Barnhart. ”We had to go to a zone to get them to play a little bit faster, but give Scott credit. They played a good game against us.”