WHEELING, W.Va. — Wheeling Central enters the postseason in Class Single A riding a lot of momentum.
The Maroon Knights (19-2) last week captured their sixth straight OVAC title and now are looking to add to their 11 boys basketball state championships as a member of the WVSSAC.
Seniors Owen Gainer and Brent Price have been at the core of Central Catholic’s success, starting since they were sophomores.
“I’ve been working hard on my game each year after every season and I’ve been trying to develop myself into the player my team needs every year,” Gainer said. “It’s been a fun ride. Freshman year, making it down state for the first time was crazy, being able to play with players like Chase Harler and Boyd Bibey – it was a blast.
“Now, being on a team where I’m a captain is an eye opening experience,” he continued. “It’s just been a lot of fun and I’ve been trying to get my game better every year.”
Gainer and Price have both eclipsed 1,000 career points individually this year.
Price reached that milestone on January 24 in a win over Steubenville Catholic, scoring 26 points overall in that contest. Gainer, meanwhile, got his 1,000th career point in a 96-80 win over Parkersburg Catholic on February 2.
Gainer hit nine 3s and finished with 35 points on the night.
“I had to give a lot of credit to my teammates and my coaches – they all knew I was close to my 1,000th point, so they were getting me the ball and encouraging me to take my shots and let it fly,” Gainer said. “They just were going in for me.”
Central Catholic started off the season 8-0 before an out-of-state setback to Mars (PA). Another eight game winning streak followed, but was snapped on February 10 with a one-point loss to defending state champion Notre Dame.
The Maroon Knights had beaten Notre Dame back in January by 20 points.
“That (second game against Notre Dame) was a game where we really didn’t play well – we didn’t shoot well and we didn’t play well overall. But we still had a chance to win,” said Central Catholic coach Mel Stephens. “We wanted to learn from that loss.
“Some people say losses are good for you sometimes,” he continued. “We don’t want to lose, but if we can learn from it and get better from it, when you look back on it, it’s worth it.”
Central Catholic begins sectional play on Wednesday as the top seed in Class A Region 1, Section 1, while Cameron (18-4) is the No. 2 seed.
“We’re just trying to keep playing better together,” Gainer said. “We’ve got to focus on doing the little things right and play better defensively. We want to cut down the nets this year, that’s our big goal.”
Wheeling Central has Class AA boys basketball state championships from 1982, 1987 and 1990. Class A titles have come in 1996, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009 and 2014.
|WHEELING CENTRAL CATHOLIC|
2017-2018 Boys Basketball Schedule
|1||12/12/17||7:30PM||H –||MAGNOLIA HIGH SCHOOL||82||–||38||W|
|2||12/19/17||7:30PM||H –||SHADYSIDE,OH H.S.||82||–||43||W|
|3||12/21/17||7:30PM||H –||TUCKER COUNTY||98||–||75||W|
|4||12/23/17||7:00PM||A –||JOHN GLENN, OH H.S.||65||–||62||W|
|5||12/27/17||7:30PM||A –||ST. CLAIRSVILLE, OH H.S.||79||–||68||W|
|7||12/30/17||8:30PM||H –||TRINITY CHRISTIAN SCHOOL||64||–||48||W|
|9||01/06/18||10:10AM||H –||MARS AREA HIGH SCHOOL (CRC)||70||–||77||L|
|10||01/09/18||7:30PM||A –||NOTRE DAME||80||–||60||W|
|11||01/13/18||6:30PM||H –||PARKERSBURG CATHOLIC||96||–||80||W|
|12||01/20/18||2:00PM||A –||TUCKER COUNTY||82||–||58||W|
|13||01/24/18||7:30PM||A –||STEUBENVILLE CATHOLIC CENTRAL, OH H.S.||76||–||61||W|
|14||01/26/18||7:30PM||A –||LINSLY, WV. H.S.||82||–||55||W|
|15||01/27/18||7:30PM||A –||MAGNOLIA HIGH SCHOOL||78||–||43||W|
|16||01/31/18||6:00PM||A –||TRINITY CHRISTIAN SCHOOL||80||–||76||W|
|17||02/06/18||7:30PM||A –||SHADYSIDE,OH H.S.||77||–||58||W|
|18||02/10/18||7:30PM||H –||NOTRE DAME||59||–||60||L|
|19||02/13/18||7:30PM||H –||FORT FRYE,OH H.S.||65||–||55||W|
|20||02/17/18||12:15PM||H –||UNION LOCAL,OH H.S.||59||–||43||W|
|21||02/21/18||7:30PM||H –||LINSLY, WV. H.S.||78||–||61||W|
|wins: 19 lost: 2 ties: 0|