Parkersburg Catholic holds off Wirt County, 77-73

ELIZABETH – Parkersburg Catholic misfired on 11 of its 25 free throw opportunities in the game, but it hit the ones that counted down the stretch during the Crusaders’ 77-73 win over host Wirt County Friday night.

The Tigers’ Kalob Bell scored a game-high 24 points and teammate Austin McVey chipped in 16, but it was not enough as Parkersburg Catholic placed four players in double figures in upping its seasonal mark to 7-1 with a home game against Doddridge County slated for 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

Trailing by 11, 66-55, with 4:22 remaining in the game, the Tigers went on a 7-0 run to pull to within four, 66-62, with three minutes left to be played. Bell got things rolling with a short jumper in the lane and followed that with his third triple of the game to make the score 66-60 with 3:44 showing on the clock.

After an offensive foul whistled on the Crusaders’ Brady Kurucz took away a deuce from the visitors, Wirt’s Jeremy Kirby made it a four-point game when he put back a missed jumper by Mark Cunningham.

Kurucz, who finished with 17 points for the Crusaders, hit a layin off of a Payton Sturm feed and then made good on a pair of free throws to push the margin back to eight, 70-62. But, the Tigers were far from finished.

An exchange of buckets kept the deficit at eight before five straight points from McVey-a triple and a pair of free throws-pulled the hosts to within three, 72-69, with 38 seconds left in the game.

The margin dropped to two, 73-71, after PC’s Sturm made good on 1-of-2 from the line and Wirt’s McVey connected for both of his shots from the charity stripe. But, that would be as close as the Tigers would get as a pair of free throws by Jake Ullman and Jake Boice’s 2-of-4 from the line were more than enough to offset J.T. Smith’s rebound bucket.

Leading the Columbia blue and white to its seventh win of the season was Joe Padden with 22 points. Ullman chipped in with 20 and Sturm finished with an impressive double-double (11 points, 10 assists).

Wirt County, now 2-6 overall, returns to LKC South Division play on Tuesday with South Harrison pays a visit.