Too big, too strong, too physical and too talented.
West Virginia had a distinct advantage in all of those facets of Sunday's 35th annual Samuel A. Mumley OVAC All-Star Classic held on the campus of Ohio University Eastern in St. Clairsville.
The Mountaineers mixed and matched their personnel well en route to a convincing 83-70 victory against their Ohio rivals, completing the sweep on the afternoon.
BRIDGEPORT’S Cole Smelley drives between John Marshall’s Justin Wade, right, and Magnolia’s Jayson Keller (33) during Sunday’s Sam Mumley OVAC?Classic at Ohio University Eastern. The Mountaineer boys prevailed, 83-70.
"This was a wonderful experience," said West Virginia and Linsly head coach James Wallace. "When you work with high quality young men like we did, it's a great time. These kids represented themselves, their schools and the OVAC extremely well. Plus, any time you can get a victory, it makes even more special."
The West Virginia squad wasted no time asserting itself. Well, actually it did because it was when Wallace went to his second unit, that included Wheeling Park's duo of Boo Lathon and Vondel Bell, when the Mountaineers made their run to gain separation.
Lathon, who shined the brightest of all the stars, drained in three triples in the first half in which he scored 14 of his game-high 25 points.
He also had two thunderous dunks, which led to a few oohs and aahs from the large crowd on hand.
"With it being the last time that I was going to put on a Wheeling Park jersey, I just wanted to come out and do a little something," Lathon, who is planning on playing football and basketball at West Liberty, said. "I was hot and feeling it (in the first half), so just I kept shooting. My dunks were monsterous. Our coaches told us anytime we had a chance to throw one down to go for it, and I did."
The Mountain State headed to the intermission, at which time Union Local sharpshooter Kurtis Ogilbee claimed the three-point contest, with a 49-30 lead.
The Buckeye State made a run in the second half behind the sweet shooting of Fort Frye's Zach Eddy, who hit three of his four treys in the second 20 minutes. Ohio got as close as nine at 60-51, but the Mountaineers stopped the bleeding with back-to-back buckets from Bishop Donahue's D.T. Meeker and then another tally from Lathon.
"Our plan was to win the game," Ohio and Steubenville head coach Mike Haney said. "You talk about all-star games, you think about kids messing around and taking crazy shots, but our kids' effort was great. We played hard, got after it defensively. I thought we played well together. Lathon was killing the 3s early, but we battled back."
The Weir High duo of Harley Mills and Michael Drizake each went for 10 points in the game. Mills' final two came off a brilliantly thrown lob from Linsly's Akil Blount. Bell finished with eight points.
Ohio, meanwhile, was paced by Eddy's 12 points. Cambridge's Riley Rodgers added 10 points. Big Red's William Houst added eight points.
WEST VIRGINIA (83) - Hughes 1, 1-1 3; Breen 1, 0-0 3; Battista 1, 0-0 2; Bell 4, 0-0 8; Wade 1, 0-0 2; Drizake 4, 0-0 10; Meeker 3, 0-0 6; Blount 2, 1-1 5; Frankovitch 3, 2-4 8; Lathon 10, 1-2 25; Keller 0, 1-2 1; Mills 4, 0-0 10; Ueltschy 0, 0-2 0; Totals: 34, 6-12 83. OHIO (70) - Smelley 2, 2-4 6; Spence 0, 0-0 0; Pieniazek 1, 0-2 2; Fitzpatrick 2, 0-0 4; Feller 1, 0-0 2; Thompson 2, 1-1 5; Dauch 1, 0-2 2; Bowers 2, 1-2 6; Ogilbee 2, 0-0 5; Smyth 1, 2-3 4; Thompkins 2, 0-0 4; Eddy 4, 0-0 12; Houst 4, 0-0 8; Rogers 3, 4-5 10; Larrick 0, 0-0 0; Totals: 27, 10-19 70.
Three-Point Goals: WV - Breen, Drizake (2), Lathon (4), Mills (2). O - Bowers, Ogilbee, Eddy (4).
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