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West Virginia produces six double-figure scorers in 89-71 win against Portland State

West Virginia missed only 10 shots in each half en route to shooting better than 60 percent from the field, which allowed the Mountaineers to respond from their first loss this season with an 89-71 victory against Portland State on Friday at Moda Center.

Less than 24 hours after falling to No. 24 Purdue 80-68 in their opening game of the Phil Knight Legacy, the Mountaineers had six double-figure scorers and executed at a high level offensively throughout much of the contest save for 19 turnovers.

“We’re going to work on it, but obviously if they continue to turn it over, we’re going to have to play somebody else there,” WVU head coach Bob Huggins said after moving into sole possession of third place on the all-time wins list for Division I coaches with 921.

West Virginia (5-1) made 31-of-51 field goals, 7 of 16 from long range and 20-of-28 free throws in a game it led for the final 37:32.

One night after forward Tre Mitchell had his worst outing at West Virginia, Mitchell displayed much more of what he had through the season’s first four games and scored a team-high 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting. Perhaps more importantly, he played a team-high 34 minutes after being plagued by foul trouble in the loss to the Boilermakers.

WVU took its first double-digit advantage at 20-10 on an Erik Stevenson 3-pointer at the 13:22 mark.

Stevenson hit another triple 7:14 before halftime that stretched the lead to 33-19, before the Vikings (2-4) followed with one of their best stretches and cut the deficit in half. It featured two Cameron Parker free throws and Hunter Woods’ putback, before Woods scored from long range to make it 33-26.

“Sporadic at best,” Huggins described the defensive effort as. “We guarded well at times and very poorly at times. They do a really good job of spreading you and driving you and they try to get big outs on the floor and attack them.”

Kedrian Johnson scored West Virginia’s next six points on free throws and the first four started an 8-0 surge that left the Mountaineers leading 43-27 on Mohamed Wague’s layup.

WVU guard Seth Wilson hit two 3s over the final 2:38 of the half, including one that marked the final points before the break, allowing the Mountaineers to lead 53-36.

Despite falling behind by 21 early in the second half and facing a 60-40 deficit moments later, Portland State continued to battle and used a 10-0 run to close to within 10. Mikal Starks and Parker provided four points apiece during the surge, which also included two Isaiah Johnson free throws.

But WVU got consecutive buckets from guard Joe Toussaint in response and led by at least 12 the rest of the way.

Wilson hit another triple with 9:45 left to make it 69-54, and the sophomore guard added his fourth and final trey for an 80-62 lead with 4:20 remaining.

“He’s been huge. That’s what he does,” Huggins said. “He can make shots.”

West Virginia assisted 20 of its 31 baskets.

Emmitt Matthews Jr. scored 14 points, Wilson and Johnson contributed 12 apiece and Toussaiant and Stevenson added 11 each.

“We’re getting better. We were pretty sick yesterday and particularly Emmitt Matthews,” Huggins said. “He really sucked it up to play yesterday.”

Portland State held a 30-27 rebounding advantage and made 30-of-38 free throws but was hampered by 24 turnovers, including 16 in the first half.

“They took long shots,” Huggins said. “I don’t think rebounding was an issue today, but it’s been an issue.”

Parker led all players with 19 points and made all 13 of his free throws.

Woods added 12 and matched Johnson with a game-high five boards.

There were 54 fouls between the two teams.

The Mountaineers will take on Florida (4-2) Sunday in their final game of the event at 8:30 p.m. ESPNU will televise the matchup.

The Gators defeated Oregon State on Friday after losing to Xavier one day earlier.

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Williamstown runs by Doddridge to earn 11th championship appearance

(Highlights by Teran Malone)

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. – Williamstown secured its second straight appearance in the Class A Championship Game with a 53-21 win over Doddridge County. Senior running back Rickie Allen led the second-seeded Yellow Jackets with 143 yards rushing on 16 carries and four touchdowns. Maxwell Molessa ran for 124 yards and threw a touchdown to propel Williamstown to its 11th championship game appearance.

Williamstown now faces top-seeded James Monroe in the Class A Championship game next Saturday.

“Our guys, last December said ‘we’re getting back to the island and we’re going to win this thing,’ and they haven’t been shy about setting that goal, and every week they’ve risen to the challenge,” said Williamstown Head Coach Chris Beck.\

Williamstown turned a one-point game late in the second quarter into a blowout in the course of fewer than six minutes of game time. Leading 14-13 with 1:56 remaining in the first half, the Yellow Jackets engineered an 8-play, 77-yard drive that culminated with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Molessa to Colt Hesson. That gave Williamstown some breathing room at halftime, 22-13.

Coming out to start the second half, Williamstown’s offense unleashed a flurry of points, scoring on its first three possessions to take a commanding 46-13 lead with 6:19 to play in the third quarter.

“Everybody wants to ask about adjustments, and some were made but at the end of the day the kids make the plays,” Beck said. “We’ve got great kids. It wasn’t any special coaching formula. We just have a bunch of great kids who play the game hard.”

On the opening drive of the first half, Allen broke away for a 15-yard touchdown run with 10:23 on the clock to put Williamstown up 30-13. The Yellow Jacket defense forced Doddridge to go three-and-out on the ensuing series then Williamstown went for the dagger. The very next play, Beck called a double pass that caught the Bulldogs’ defense off guard. Quarterback Maxwell Molessa lateraled to Lynken Joy who connected with tight end Kent Wigal for a 55-yard touchdown pass putting the Yellow Jackets firmly in control 38-13.

“That’s actually the second time we ran it this year. That was a great job of Lynken [Joy] and Kent [Wigal] connecting up but what probably goes unnoticed there is Rickie [Allen] blocking the defensive end to give us time to get that off,” Beck said.

Allen reached the endzone again on the next Williamstown series, pulling away from the Doddridge defense for a 34-yard touchdown run, blowing the game open 46-13.

Allen tacked on one more score midway through the fourth quarter to finish off a 13-play drive that ate 7:34 off the clock.

“That’s Rick. He’s one of the best players in Class A and the best natural leader I’ve ever been around. Moments like this are not too big for him,” said Beck.

The game was close to start out with both offenses struggling to find their footing early on. Williamstown scored first on a 17-yard touchdown pass from Hesson to Molessa. Doddridge immediately answered with a 61-yard Seth Richards touchdown run and briefly held a 7-6 lead. The two teams traded scores on the next two possessions. Allen put Williamstown back in front with a 40-yard touchdown run. Doddridge countered with a 6-yard scoring run by Richards, who finished with 24 carries for 165 yards and a pair of scores.

(Coverage sponsored by Burdette Camping, www.burdettecamping.com)

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Independence earns return trip to the Super Six with 58-19 win over North Marion

COAL CITY, W.Va. — 51 weeks after falling just short of a Class AA state championship, Independence has earned a second shot at the title. The No. 2 Patriots (12-0) defeated No. 6 North Marion 58-19 in the Class AA semifinals. Independence will face the winner of the Herbert Hoover/Frankfort semifinal, which is set for Saturday evening in Short Gap.

“When you set a goal as high as you set to get back to Wheeling Island and play some of the teams we had to play to get there, it is just a great job by those guys,” said Independence head coach John Lilly. “We walked off that island and we said we are coming back. I know a lot of people didn’t believe we could have done it. Guess what, we ran the table. Now we get one more shot. So we just have to find a way to put four more quarters together.

“Our seniors were dialed in. I think a lot of people thought we were going to have a let down after beating Bluefield and Fairmont [Senior]. We didn’t. I knew they wouldn’t. We set this goal a long time ago to get back. We’re going to enjoy it for 24 hours.”

Senior running back Judah Price established a new state record for points in a season [regular season and playoffs]. He scored a pair of rushing touchdowns in the first quarter and broke the mark with a 67-yard touchdown reception from Cyrus Goodson in the second quarter.

“We didn’t aim to do it. All we aimed to do today was to win the game. But I am so happy for him. If you guys only knew the competitive spirit that kid has, there’s nothing I can say. That dude has got it.”

Goodson returned a punt 60 yards for a score and he reeled in a 55-yard scoring strike from Bowers. Bowers also rushed for an 18-yard score.

“We’re always excited about what Cyrus does on offense. I am more excited about Cyrus on defense. He hasn’t given up a touchdown pass all year. And our other corner Trey [Bowers], he hasn’t given up a touchdown pass all year. I am just as happy for them on defense as I am on offense.”

Jordan Harvey put the Patriots ahead 52-6 at halftime by returning a fumble 48 yards for a score with three seconds left in the half. Tyler Linkswiler capped the scoring for the Patriots (12-0) with an 86-yard run in the third quarter.

Casey Minor scored a pair of rushing touchdowns for the Huskies (10-3). This was North Marion’s deepest postseason run in 25 years.

“Congratulations to North Marion and [Daran] Hays. They are a class act. They’re a great coaching staff with great kids.”

(Coverage sponsored by Burdette Camping, www.burdettecamping.com)

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Local businesses hope for big numbers on Small Business Saturday

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Morgantown area businesses are preparing to open up shop for the biggest shopping weekends of the year.

With Black Friday wrapping up, local shoppers will be traveling around the Morgantown area to take advantage of deals as part of Small Business Saturday.

Deputy Mayor Danielle Trumble said anyone shopping in downtown Morgantown in particular, to expect several sales and family friendly activities that will begin at 11 a.m. and will continue for most of Saturday.

“Businesses are having specials, I know there’s local artisans, a vintage market, book signings, there’s a lot of stuff going on downtown, ”  Trumble said.

Many of the activities open to the public will take place at the Ward Building across from the Monongalia County Courthouse Square. Social service booths will be open for anyone seeking information on their services with holiday themed appearances, activities, and food that will be served throughout the afternoon.

“They’re going to have Santa there from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. so make sure you bring your kids down and get your photo taken, they’re going to have a cookie, smore and cocoa bar from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.” Trumble said.

Restaurants and other local business owners are planning to have sales of their various goods and services with many goods made in West Virginia. Shops like Hoot and Howl owned by local owner Stephanie Swain, are also expected to have their own promotions and giveaways to bring more foot traffic to their stores.

“It’s a great time downtown, we have a lot of people come out and we have some specials and giveaway goodie bags and refreshments,” Swain said. “It’s just a lot happening and it’s a really good time,” she said.

Small Business Saturday is considered a major economic booster for local businesses. Even for the more widely known locally owned businesses, the shopping holiday can contribute up to sixty-five percent of revenues directly to the local economy. As the holiday shopping season wraps up heading in December, shoppers are told to keep an eye out for sales as we get closer to Christmas.

“They’re throwing great events and you’ll have lots of opportunities to get some really neat stuff for the holidays for gifts,” said Swain.

Parking will be free in downtown Morgantown until November 27.

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Man wanted in Morgantown murder arrested by US Marshals

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A man police have been looking in connection with a recent Monongalia County murder was taken into custody Friday.

Chance Austin Williams

The US Marshal Service said Chance Williams, 23, of Morgantown, was arrested without incident in the 1000 block of White Avenue in Morgantown.

Williams allegedly killed Jamey Corbin, 47, of Fairmont on Nov. 22.

Morgantown police and Monongalia County deputies helped in Friday’s arrest.

“The U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force is designed to assist state and local law enforcement apprehend the most dangerous felons and this arrest is a perfect example. The Marshals Service was glad to assist in this case and safely bring this suspect to Justice.” said by Acting U.S. Marshal Terry Moore.

Williams became a suspect in Corbin’s body was found after a car wreck. Police said the wreck did not cause Corbin’s death,

 

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James Monroe advances to Super Six with 27-7 win over Wheeling Central

(Photo gallery by Marcus Constantino)

Class A No. 1 James Monroe is one win away from its first state championship in football.

This after the Mavericks made the most of home field advantage Friday afternoon and defeated No. 5 Wheeling Central 27-7 in the first of six state semifinals.

With the win, JMHS (13-0) advances to its first Class A title game in what will mark the Mavericks second appearance at the Super Six. They lost in the 2007 Class AA final to the Bluefield, 20-12.

“The kids were really clicking, especially on the defensive side,” Mavericks’ head coach John Mustain said. “We had a few hiccups on offense and 1 touchdown called back, but I can’t say enough about what they’ve done defensively and I hope they can keep going for one more.”

Layton Dowdy’s 24-yard touchdown pass to Eli Allen gave the Mavericks a 7-0 lead 3:59 into the contest and forced the Maroon Knights (10-2) to play from behind for almost all of the matchup.

The duo connected again from the same distance for the game’s second touchdown 4:21 before halftime, allowing the Mavericks to carry a 14-0 lead into the break.

The score stood that way until 5:25 remained in the fourth quarter when Dowdy tossed his third touchdown pass of 19 yards to Niklas Pitzer.

A 4-yard touchdown from Riley Watkins with 1:55 left enabled Central to avoid the shutout, before Wilson Boggess returned the ensuing onside kick attempt for a touchdown.

“It’s fun to coach a team when they enjoy contact as much as they do and they really bring it every night,” Mustain said of the Mavericks’ defense.

Half of Dowdy’s six completions on 10 attempts were scoring strikes and the James Monroe quarterback threw for 99 yards in the win.

Allen had three receptions for 67 yards. He was also a big factor defensively with seven tackles and an interception.

Cooper Ridgeway and Braydie Carr rushed for 86 and 84 yards, respectively, in the win.

“We don’t have really one person that you can single out,” Mustain said. “Eli does a phenomenal job receiving and there’s been some games where teams have kind of held him in check for a little bit, but when that happens, it opens up things for other receivers and our running backs.”

Central standout Lorenzo Ferrera suffered an injury on the final play of the first quarter and did not return.

The Mavericks will face No. 2 Williamstown in the Class A final next Saturday night at Wheeling Island Stadium.

“Williamstown is successful in every sport and they’ve won some championships and been up there several times,” Mustain said. “They’ll definitely have the edge on experience, but I feel like our kids are up to the task and I hope we play our best ball. As a coach, that’s all you can ask for.”

(Coverage sponsored by Burdette Camping, www.burdettecamping.com)

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Georgia State at Marshall: What to watch for

— By Bill Cornwell

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Can Marshall go undefeated in November?

The answer to that question comes when the Thundering Herd (7-4, 4-3) wraps up the regular season at noon Saturday by playing host to Georgia State (4-7, 3-4) at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.

The game will be shown on ESPN+.

Marshall has already beaten Old Dominion, Appalachian State and Georgia Southern this month, with last week’s 23-10 victory over the Eagles earning Marshall its coveted bowl eligibility.

That same day, the Panthers fell at James Madison 42-40 as the Dukes came from behind to prevent Georgia State from having a chance at bowl eligibility.

Shawn Elliott is in his sixth year as Panthers’ head coach. He has a 34-37 record in Atlanta. Elliott is familiar with the Marshall program as he played against the Thundering Herd from 1991-1995 as a player at Appalachian State.

Here are three things to look for on Senior Day in Huntington:

More Work for Ali

It was a surprise for Marshall fans last Saturday when running back Rasheen Ali saw action at Georgia Southern. It was the first playing time of the season for Ali, who was considered one of the top players in the Sun Belt Conference prior to the season after an incredible season in 2021. 

Ali was injured during the late stages of preseason practices in August, but he led the nation in rushing touchdowns with 25 last year, while picking up 1.401 yards on the ground. 

He didn’t display much rust last week while carrying the ball 16 times for 79 yards.

Combining Ali with tailback Khalan Laborn, a Florida State transfer that’s led the offense throughout this season in surpassing 1,300 rushing yards, gives Marshall quite a 1-2 punch that Georgia State will have to figure out a way to contain.

Make the Panthers’ one-dimensional

Georgia State’s offense is centered around senior quarterback Darren Grainger. 

The Conway, South Carolina native is the definition of a dual-threat quarterback. He’s thrown for 2,140 yards this season and 17 touchdowns, but he’s also run for 718 yards and six scores. He’s the Panthers leading rusher and a master of the run-pass option game with a bit of straight option football mixed in.

Grainger’s going to be a big challenge for Marshall’s defense, which remains one the stingiest in the nation, especially against the run.

However, the Herd did surrender 143 yards on the ground to Georgia Southern’s Jalen White last week.

Now, the Herd defense’s job is to contain Grainger on Saturday and try to take away the threat of a ground game. In turn, that should make it easier for Marshall to defend Georgia State’s passing attack.

Continued development for a more experienced Cam Fancher

Marshall redshirt freshman quarterback Cam Fancher is clearly playing with confidence as the regular season winds down. 

If Francher keeps taking these steps, it will spell trouble for Panthers. Fancher threw two touchdowns apiece in victories over Appalachian State and Georgia Southern in addition to a 19-yard touchdown run against the Eagles.

Fancher’s production has continued to increase since his first start of the season in a win at James Madison as he’s overtaken Henry Colombi as the team’s No. 1 quarterback.

Fancher won’t necessarily impress with a big arm, but his passing ability is adequate and his athletic ability sets him apart and allows him to display traits shown during his days as a state track champion in the triple jump at Wayne High School in Huber Heights, Ohio.

The redshirt freshman will look to improve to 5-1 as the starting quarterback Saturday.

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Class AAA All-State Volleyball Teams

CLASS AAA ALL-STATE VOLLEYBALL TEAM

AS SELECTED BY THE WEST VIRGINIA SPORTSWRITERS ASSOCIATION

FIRST TEAM

Hannah Howard, Musselman, SR (Captain)

Alexa Martin, Bridgeport, SR

Dia Sauvage, Greenbrier East, JR

Paige Richmond, Hedgesville, SR

Paige Brock, Morgantown, SR

Delaney Brasselle, George Washington, SR

Rylee Wise, Parkersburg, SR

Abby Dillon, Woodrow Wilson, SO

Ava Dunnigan, Musselman, JR

Kaitlyn Anderson, Morgantown, JR

SECOND TEAM

Myleigh Smell, Bridgeport, SO (Captain)

ZaMahya Moss, Woodrow Wilson, SR

Olivia Albrecht, Wheeling Park, SR

Gracie Lemon, Spring Valley, SR

Alayna Harper, Hedgesville, SO

Reese Parsons, Hurricane, JR

Sidney Varney, Ripley, SR

Maia Johnson, Parkersburg South, JR

Kayli Derrow, John Marshall, JR

Laney Gannon, Huntington, SR

Special Honorable Mention

Alanna Penn, Woodrow Wilson; Gracie Gumm, Greenbrier East; Olivia Perkins, Parkersburg; Paisley Miller, Hedgesville; Ally Webb, Capital; Tylie Barton, George Washington; Maggie Dickerson, Hurricane; Alexis Stack, Greenbrier East; Ada McCoy, Musselman; Grace DeVall, Morgantown; Mallori Dunn-Martin, Huntington; Madison Stoll, Princeton; Katie Pilgrim, University; Ella Sorine, Bridgeport; Keleigh Chrisman, Musselman; Kendal Currence, Buckhannon-Upshur

Honorable Mention

Ava Katz, George Washington; Tiona Carroll, Cabell Midland; Gracie Brown, Hedgesville; Hailey Ervin, Greenbrier East; Rebekah Mitchell, Bridgeport; Sarah Pownell, Hampshire; Mya Green, Parkersburg; Salia Harris, Woodrow Wilson; Emma Brogan, Lincoln County; Kalila Hames, Oak Hill; Aziah Smith, Capital; Reagan Ballard, Spring Valley; Molly Riggs, South Charleston; Grace Dickerson, Hurricane; Olivia Bell, Huntington; Kate Williams, University. Lily Estep, Riverside

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Nester undecided on future with uncertainties surrounding program

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — It remains to be seen whether or not Saturday’s season finale at Oklahoma State is Doug Nester’s last game at West Virginia or last college football game altogether.

The junior and Virginia Tech transfer opted to walk during pregame festivities on Senior Day before last week’s 48-31 loss to Kansas State, which head coach Neal Brown had advised any player with or without one season of eligibility remaining to do.

“He told us that and I thought might as well,” Nester said. “You never know what the future may hold here in a couple weeks, so I went ahead and did it.”

Having played the 2019 and 2020 seasons at Virginia Tech and the last two at West Virginia, Nester has the opportunity to return if so chooses, as a result of his second year with the Hokies not counting against his eligibility.

The recently engaged right guard expects to make a decision in the near future.

“Waiting to hear some news on anything and then talking it over with the family and just trying to make the right decision,” Nester said.

That includes Nester’s potential prospects at the next level as well as the unknown future of Brown and the coaching staff.

“Obviously this season hasn’t gone how any of us planned,” Nester said. “We just keep coming to work every day trying our best, especially the offensive line and still trying to find things that we can improve in our game every day.”

Still, the uncertainties hovering over the program, including a vacancy at athletic director likely to be filled within the next two weeks, can’t be ignored.

“I’m pretty upfront and direct with them,” Brown said. “We’ll deal with that when it happens. Whatever happens, we’ll deal with it head on. But right now it’s about Oklahoma State and giving our guys the best chance to win the game. You have to deal with it that way. I’ve been talking about it for three weeks, be where your feet are. Next week is a big week in a lot of different ways, but you can’t do anything about it. How you finish says a lot about who you are as an individual. So we fully expect as a staff and football team individually and collectively to finish in the right manner.”

The contest with the Cowboys will mark Nester’s 11th start this season and the 24th of his WVU career. He’s played in every possible game since joining the program with the exception of being held out of a loss to TCU earlier this season.

It’s been an abnormal week of preparation leading up to a matchup with a team that’s beaten West Virginia seven straight times.

Students were out of class and off camps for the holiday week and West Virginia will be playing fewer than 48 hours after celebrating Thanksgiving. 

Nester, however, says he doesn’t mind.

“Personally, I like it a little bit more with no classes and to focus on straight football,” Nester said. “It’s pretty much like being a professional this week. You get to work out, watch a lot more film and get your body ready.”

Whether or not Saturday is Nester’s final game at West Virginia, the former Spring Valley High standout wishes things would have turned out differently, leaving the Mountaineers more to play for than pride in Stillwater.

“We put in so much hard work throughout the offseason and for us to come up short in some of those games, we’re a few plays away from having a completely different season,” Nester said. “That’s what we need to continue to try to fix — those three of four plays a game that have really hurt us.”

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Marion County I-79 work on schedule, bridge work to continue through winter

FAIRMONT, W.Va. – Construction-induced traffic headaches will continue on I-79 in Marion County between the South Fairmont exit to the Millersville Road exit through October 2024.

DOH Interim District 4 Engineer Mike Daley said work began in July 2021 and the contractor has managed the keep the $72.5 million project on schedule.

Mike Daley

“A lot of the road widening has been completed,” Daley said. “We’re in the process now of building bridges and even through the bad weather, cold weather our contractors are able to work.”

New Kensington, Pennsylvania-based Swank Construction is widening the entire section to six lanes in each direction and rehab work on six bridges. According to Daley, contractors will continue bridge work during the winter months.

“They’re forming, putting rebar in and getting things ready for the concrete,” Daley said. “It doesn’t seem like the weather has effected them that much, they’ve done a great job.”

The section of interstate was first opened in the late 1960s. Use of the corridor connecting Charleston, Morgantown and the Pittsburgh area has skyrocketed as population and commerce have increased.

“It’s needed because of the aging of the bridge structures and the increased capacity in the area we’ve seen,” Daley said.

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