ST. CLAIRSVILLE - The Ohio Valley Athletic Conference celebrated its senior basketball players Sunday afternoon.
The annual Samuel A. Mumley OVAC All-Star Games were held at Ohio University Eastern's Health and Physical Education Center and resulted in neither state garnering full bragging rights.
The West Virginia girls used a furious second-half rally to edge past Ohio, 89-87, while the Buckeye State boys cruised to a 98-71 victory.
ST. CLAIRSVILLE’S Dan Monteroso sails to the basket for two of his 21 points Sunday as Ohio defeated W.Va. in the boys’ game, 98-69. Additional images can be found at cu.timesleaderonline.com
THE GIRLS game appeared to be headed for an Ohio rout as the Buckeye State led by 18 at halftime and owned a lead as big as 23 in the second half.
However, the West Virginia girls weren't about to go away quietly.
Taking advantage of cold Ohio shooting and several careless turnovers, the Mountain State went on a 24-2 run in the middle stages of the second half.
Fueling the spurt was Wheeling Park's Emily Puskarich and John Marshall's Kylie Howard.
West Virginia took its first lead at 75-74, but a 3-pointer by Fort Frye's Taylor Buchanan put the Ohio side back on top.
The Mountain State regained the lead a couple of possessions later at 82-80 after Puskarich, the Robert Morris signee, and Wheeling Central's Colleen McCormick tallied on back-to-back possessions.
After Monroe Central's Chelsie Roberts tallied to tie the game, Howard buried a triple. Another Roberts' goal brought Ohio back within one.
McCormick and Howard each tallied at the foul line, making it a 87-84 reading with just under 20 seconds to play.
As she did 350 times during her career at Shadyside, Karli Bonar calmly buried a 3-pointer to tie the game. For Bonar, it was her first bonus basket of the contest.
West Virginia head coach Mark McCormick called for a timeout. The ball was in-bounded to Howard. She drove the length of the floor and softly drained a short jumper just before the horn, giving West Virginia the victory.
Howard finished with a game-high 17 points. McCormick added 14 and Puskarich went for 13.
Ohio was paced by Roberts' 13. Buchanan added 10. Edison's Molly McCoy scored nine.
THE OHIO boys came out of the gate in similar fashion as the Buckeye State girls.
This time, however, the West Virginia squad had no answer as Ohio kept its foot on the pedal and pulled away for the rout.
The Buckeye State, which was coached by St. Clairsville's Kim Clifford and Indian Creek's Joe Dunlevy, found the perfect blend of players as each group played well collectively.
"These guys genuinely liked each other and we could see in practice that they were all about making the right basketball play," Clifford said. "It was a fun group to coach."
The Buckeye Staters owned a 42-32 upperhand at halftime.
As you'd expect, Ohio was balanced in the first half. However, it was the back-court duo of St. Clairsville's Dan Monteroso and Steubenville's Periogn West that did the brunt of the scoring work.
Monteroso, who has put forth plenty of impressive performances at the OUE venue, scored nine in the first half, while West netted seven.
West Virginia, which never led in the game, was paced in the first half by future WVU Mountaineer Nathan Adrian, who scored nine of his 11 in the first 20 minutes. Adrian was the lone W.Va. star to crack double figures in the game.
The Ohio side kept pouring it on in the second half. The lead swelled to 33 on two difference occassions.
Monteroso - the Purdue football signee and 18th highest scorer in Ohio basketball history - led the way with 21 points. West finished with 18.
Cambridge's Kyle Ritz added 10, including a pair of impressive dunks. Monteroso's lone jam came off a well-thrown lob by Beallsville's Teryn Jarrett.
All 16 Ohio players cracked the scoring column, including Union Local's Jacob Bailey and St. Clairsville's Riley Carlton, both of whom are slated to undergo knee surgeries later this spring due to torn ACLs.
Indian Creek's Frank Kamarec had a solid eight points. Conotton Valley's Brandon Bailey had nine boards to go along with five points.
Adrian's production was complemented University's Travis Tomer, who won the 3-point shootout at halftime, and Trinity's Anthony Ghiardi. Both finished with nine. Parkersburg South's Doug Dennis added eight.
Staskey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org