WV Bearcats claw past Williamstown Demons

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By Paul Gable

Williamstown's players slowly trudged off the Grant County High School floor as if they were in shoes that just didn't fit.

After receiving what they viewed to be a favorable draw, the Demons took the court looking to send their four seniors off with a trip to the 8th Regional tournament. Instead, Williamstown lost 71-51 to the Walton-Verona Bearcats in the first round of the 32nd District Tournament Monday evening, finishing one game shy of their goal. The loss ended Williamstown's season with a 4-20 record.

"I've never felt like this in my life," Williamstown senior Michael Walter said.

Fellow classmate Patrick Gatewood said his teammates were "disappointed" with the outcome.

"We had high expectations coming into the tournament, and it just didn't work out for us. It's tough, and words cannot explain the feelings that I, along with my teammates, are feeling right now," Gatewood said.

The Bearcats drilled 11 three pointers and turned the tempo up on Williamstown, who gave Walton-Verona all it could handle in the first three minutes of the first quarter.

However, Walton-Verona turned a slim 4-2 lead into a 17-8 edge after the first quarter. The lead swelled to 35-23 at the half, thanks in part to several big baskets by Payton Ponzer.

Williamstown coach Stacey May said that the Bearcats did not force Williamstown away from its game plan.

"Kudos to Walton, they shot well. Nobody forced us to do anything. It was an intense game, and we got away from what we wanted to do," May said.

Gatewood also said the Demons got away from what they wanted to accomplish.

"We didn't stick to our game plan. We tried to run with them and did things different than we have done all season long. It is very frustrating," Gatewood said.

Despite a basket by Walter, Walton-Verona continued to build its lead and baskets by Scott Kirk and Josh Jones put the Bearcats ahead 44-29 midway through the third quarter.