Ben Queen/MetroNews photo

Chase Harler scored 30 points to lift Wheeling Central over Charleston Catholic in the Class A championship game.


CHARLESTON, W.Va. — With Chase Harler taking command in the second overtime, Wheeling Central held off Charleston Catholic’s upset bid 64-55 in the Class A state championship.

“(Charleston Catholic) came out with a lot of energy today and we didn’t start very well,” Wheeling Central coach Mel Stephens said. “To our kids credit, we hung in there. In the second overtime we made a couple big plays to give us separation.”

Wheeling Central claimed its first title since 2009 thanks to a 30-point output from Harler, who scored nine of his team’s 15 points in double-OT.

“In the second half I tried to be a little more aggressive and drive to the lane and not settling for jump shots,” Harler said. ”

Charleston Catholic—hoping to send off long-time coach Bill McClanahan with another crown—led by 10 points in the first half and never trailed until Harler’s 3 with 2:54 left in regulation put Wheeling Central ahead 43-42.

“We could never quite get over the mountain top, from the middle part in the fourth through the two overtimes,” McClanahan said. “They held us at arm’s length and finished the way you need to to be a championship team.”

With the score deadlocked at 45-all, Harler had another open look at the of regulation, but his jumper from the top of the key kicked off left rim.

It remained tied at 49 at the end of the first overtime, when Catholic double-teamed Harler and forced him to pass to teammate Jonathan Droginske on the left wing. Droginske’s first shot attempt of the game bank away at the buzzer.

Catholic was paced by Nick George’s double-double of 20 points and 12 rebounds, who shut down Wheeling Central’s second-leading scorer David Park for most of the game.

“I know he can shoot the lights out so I didn’t want him to get a good looks,” George said. “I just tried to force him into uncomfortable situations and always had my hands up.”

Garrett McCarty finished with 17 points, going 10-of-11 from the line.

“We had trouble scoring in the fourth quarter and in the two overtimes,” McCarty said. “They played us really tight and we just couldn’t get open opportunities.”

Park scored 10 points, including 8-of-12 free-throw shooting, grabbed a team high 14 rebounds.

The Irish jumped out to a 16-6 first-quarter lead, highlighted by George’s dunk as well as keeping Park and Harler off the board.

“We were in big trouble in the first quarter,” Stephens said. “Our first two buckets were C.J. Burch and Joey John, who very seldom every score.”

Yet Catholic couldn’t sustain that margin with Wheeling Central chipping away throughout the second and third quartes.

“We just wanted to be patient on offense, because we knew we were going to get our shot,” Park said. “Coaches told us to be strong with the ball and take good shots.”

The championship was the 12th in school history and 11th since the Maroon Knights moved to Class A.

Class A All-Tournament
Chase Harler, Wheeling Central
David Park, Wheeling Central
Nick George, Charleston Catholic
Garrett McCarty – Charleston Catholic
Jarrod West, Notre Dame
Cal Cistaro, Notre Dame
Cannon Brummage, Clay-Battelle
Elisha Kidd, Greater Beckley Christian
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  • 1louddog

    Private A class comes down to WCC and CC what a surprise. Bluefield, even better than I thought and a Huntington team with a ton of grit and heart. Overall a good field, just feel bad for the single A teams always getting the guts kicked out of them by the private A schools. I don't care what the advantage is but there sure is one, the number just don"t lie.GBC has 64 kids in the school and make the dance ???? Just happen chance to have that many good players from those numbers, yea O K.

  • Private School Haters

    So let me get this straight, you idiots feel that the private schools should have to move up a class to even the score.... Really? now just what sense would that make, if I'm right, I think I counted approximately 140 some schools who participate in the WVSSAC, ONLY 9 of the are Private Schools. its not rocket science people, if the non private schools can't even make it "Down State" then it sounds to me like they need to find a new coach or practice harder. I cant speak for any of the other private schools but Wheeling Central has NO need to recruit, the student athletes pool from the Parochial Schools has plenty of talent. Stop being jealous, respect the hard work of these kids and their parents who not only pay tuition but taxes to keep the public schools afloat. and remember if all the private schools closed tomorrow, the public schools would be in deep water cause they couldn't afford the extra students.

  • Say What

    The Civic Center emptied out due to folks from Bluefield and Clarksburg going home with their respective teams, duuuhhhhhh??!!!
    Some of you dopes really amaze me with your small-minded cynical comments. Must be inbreeding going on down yonder.

  • Roger

    Another private school who recruits from multiple states wins another state championship.... news at 11.

    • Mike

      Not one of the Kids on Central Catholic was recruited. Get your facts right before you post lies.

  • mw

    Another private school champion in the private A class. What does that make it 14 out of the last 16? Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that the playing field is not equal. WVSSAC do your job!!!!!!! It is just that simple.

    • DD

      It was amazing how quickly the CCC emptied out after the AA title game. Apparently the rest of the state had little interest in the private school championship game.

      • Roger

        Because most of those kids playing are not even from WV......

        • John

          Roger, what the heck are you talking about? You throw out some random comment that is not even true, why would you say "those players are not even from WV"? Everyone on the Charleston Catholic team has been in Charleston, WV area and has been in the catholic school system since kindergarten so I am confused why you would even say that, in fact you made two posts with your false statement on here, so tired of these haters that just throw out "recruiting" claims with no proof what so ever, if you have no proof then don't post anything, if you have proof then take it to WVSSAC and get the school in trouble

        • Mike

          Come On Roger..LMAO..

  • BasketballD

    I'd like to see both schools move up to double for awhile let's see them compete in a more correct section for about 5 years. I don't think these schools will have a problem competing and probably winning but it would be nice to see a private school compete a little higher on the good chain.

    • Mike

      Chase Harler can start for any school in any Class in the State, So Could David Park.

  • db


    • foul

      Who cares?

    • Irish fan

      Great game, great rivalry. Always fun when we play. Your right, two outstanding programs!