BY Steve Keenan
For The Register-Herald
A stumbling start didn’t derail Meadow Bridge in its bid to capture its second straight Division 2 championship in the annual boys West Virginia Hometown Invitational Tournament Friday at the Summersville Arena and Conference Center.
The Wildcats (9-7) scored just two points in the first period and had only 11 at halftime (to their foe’s 13) but responded with a solid second-half effort to secure a 52-41 defeat of Paden City (11-6) in the Division 2 finals.
“The main thing was that we just started finishing around the rim,” said winning coach Mark Gladwell. “We got a jumper or two to go and we started pushing in transition and Logan (Pomeroy) did a great job of attacking the rim.
“We really asserted ourselves in the third quarter.”
A 9-0 spurt, which featured back-to-back 3-point goals from Cole Porter and Pomeroy, pushed Meadow Bridge into the lead for the first time all evening, with Pomeroy’s trey making it 25-20. Paden City knotted it at 25 on a Zach Heasley bucket, but the Wildcats used an 8-3 run at the outset of the final frame to lead 41-32 following a Cody White deuce inside with 4:55 left.
A nice spin move by White made it 46-39 with 1:31 to go, and Paden City could get no closer than five points the rest of the way.
Pomeroy finished with a team-high 19 points for Meadow Bridge, while Porter chipped in 16 and, according to Gladwell, helped lead the Wildcat defensive surge. White contributed 11 points.
Kennedy Cain led Paden City, which owned an early 12-2 lead, with 18 points.
“We beat a quality team tonight,” Gladwell said of Paden City.
In earlier games Friday, Hannan, Hundred and Harman were Division 2 winners.
Behind Paul Holley’s 18 points, Hannan defeated Union 53-47 for third place. Union was led by Travis Murphy’s 16 points.
In the fifth place battle, Rusty Morris poured in 30 points to power Hundred past Montcalm 53-49. Matt Pennington led the Generals with 15 points.
Harman claimed seventh place with a 68-50 conquest of Van. Alex Armentrout scored 21 to pace Harman, and Brandon Elswick popped in 28 for Van.
Meadow Bridge travels to play Midland Trail on Tuesday, while Paden City begins play in the OVAC playoffs the same night.
The WVHIT is slated to conclude Saturday in Summersville. Action starts at 9 a.m. and will culminate with the 7:30 p.m. championship game.
The lineup is as follows:
-- 9 a.m. — Valley-Wetzel vs. Fayetteville for 15th place;
-- 10:30 a.m. — Doddridge vs. Man for 13th place;
-- 12 p.m. — Cameron vs. Sherman for 11th place;
-- 1:30 p.m. — East Hardy vs. Midland Trail for ninth place;
-- 3 p.m. — South Harrison vs. Richwood for seventh place;
-- 4:30 p.m. — Tygarts Valley vs. Greenbrier West for fifth place;
-- 6 p.m. — Clay-Battelle vs. Valley for third place; and
-- 7:30 p.m. — St. Marys vs. Buffalo for first place.
The event is sponsored by Southern West Virginia Health System, a company of Lincoln Primary Care Center.
For more on the tournament, visit www.wvhit.com or follow on Twitter @WestVirginiaHIT.
Listen to live championship game-day coverage on Summersville’s WSWW 95.7 FM. Broadcasts can also be heard on 3ws957.com.
— E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org