GLENVILLE - Payton Sturm iced things at the end and Jake Ullman scored 11 straight fourth-quarter points here Friday night as visiting Parkersburg Catholic escaped Gilmer County with a 53-52 victory and the Class A, Region IV, Section 1 championship plaque.
"This was a great environment for high school basketball," said PCHS head coach Rob Strcula, who watched Ullman tally a game-high 23 points - 18 after the break -while Joe Padden finished with 12 points and seven rebounds.
"Both teams battled so hard. It's the best high school game I've ever been a part of, win or lose."
In a contest that featured seven ties and 15 lead changes, a baker's dozen of which came in the second half, it was the Titans who hoped for one more as head coach Steve Shuff's squad was looking for a third straight win against the Crusaders (15-8).
Following's Ullman's final deuce of the fourth, a nifty lay-in with 2:02 to play, PCHS held a 49-48 cushion. The Titans, though, got a putback from Cory Grogg 16 ticks later and regained the lead for the final time.
With 1:04 remaining, Sturm was down low in the block area and got a soft turn-around jumper to fall. He later added two free throws with 31.5 to play for a 53-50 lead. With a little more than eight seconds left, Titan Noah Aviles scored in the paint and after a quick timeout by Shuff, the Crusaders were called for travelling on the ensuing inbound.
Class A, Region IV, Section 1
Parkersburg Catholic 53, Gilmer County 52
P. Catholic 14 11 13 15 - 53
Gilmer Co. 8 17 12 15 - 52
PARKERSBURG CATHOLIC (15-8)
Payton Sturm 3 2-2 8, Jake Ullman 7 7-7 23, Ben Collie 0 0-0 0, Joe Padden 3 5-7 12, Austin Luther 2 0-0 4, Brady Kurucz 2 2-2 6, Jake Boice 0 0-0 0, Nick Roedersheimer 0 0-0 0, Carson Weyer 0 0-0 0; TOTALS: 17 16-18 53; 3-point goals: Ullman 2, Padden 1
GILMER COUNTY (18-6)
Austin Ratliff 0 4-6 4, Nathan Allison 3 2-3 10, Austin Cunningham 7 0-0 16, Cory Grogg 4 0-1 8, Zach Chapman 3 0-0 6, Noah Aviles 1 2-5 4, Colby Cunningham 1 1-2 4; TOTALS: 19 9-17 52; 3-point goals: Allison, A. Cunningham 2, C. Cunningham 1
Shooting: PC 17-40 (42%), GC 19-47 (40%); 3-pointers: PC 3-16, GC 5-21; Rebounds: PC 24 (Padden 7, Luther, Collie 4), GC 30 (A. Cunningham 7, Aviles, Grogg 5); Assists: PC 6 (Sturm 3), GC 10 (Ratliff 4); Steals: PC 7 (Ullman 2), GC 11 (Allison 5); Blocks: PC 2 (Collie, Kurucz), GC 2 (Ratliff, Chapman); Turnovers: PC 15, GC 12
Next games: Huntington St. Joe at Parkersburg Catholic 7 p.m. Wednesday; Gilmer County at Charleston Catholic 7 p.m. Wednesday.
However, the Titans failed to score after having the ball on their end of the court and nearly seven seconds to play with. Austin Ratliff's driving lay-in came up just short and rolled off the iron. Grogg was there for the rebound, but his putback was off the mark and Aviles' last-ditch effort on the other block didn't fall.
"I'm not sure what happened," Sturm said of the travel he was assessed at the end. "As soon as I got it, I threw it up to Joe, but they called me for a walk. I'm not really sure.
"I think the crowd called it for them. Gilmer is a really good team. (Austin) Cunningham and Ratliff are great players. They got a great team all-around, but this is the one we wanted."
Cunningham had a team-high 16 points and added seven caroms, but fouled out with less than a minute to play after Ben Collie took a charge. Nathan Allison scored 10 points in the loss while Grogg tallied eight.
PCHS, which will play host in a regional game at 7 p.m. Wednesday to Huntington St. Joe while Gilmer County heads to Charleston Catholic, scored the first eight points of the affair and led 14-8 after one. The visitors, thanks to an Ullman 3, had the game squared at 25 apiece at intermission. Of note, Aviles rattled in a launched heave from nearly three-quarter court, but it came just after the halftime buzzer.
"I'm happy," said Ullman, who gave PCHS a 28-25 lead to start the second half following a three-point play as well as a 41-40 edge just 45 seconds into the fourth when he drained a trifecta after Sturm kept a possession alive with an offensive rebound.
"We've got to get back to the grind. It's a new game (Wednesday) and we can't really afford to celebrate this one for too long."
The Titans, who dropped to 18-6, went a span of 6:26 in the third quarter between field goals as a Zach Chapman putback closed the deficit late in the third to 38-34. Cunningham's triple, which came about after Collie blocked a shot and the ball went back toward halfcourt, made it 38-37 entering the final eight minutes.
PCHS canned 16 of 18 from the charity stripe and the Titans hit just 9 of 17 attempts.