By Steve Keenan
A stumbling start didn’t derail Meadow Bridge in its bid to capture its second straight Division 2 championship in the third 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 at the 3:43 mark of the third. Paden City knotted it at 25 on a Zach Heasley bucket, but Meadow Bridge 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.
Porter started the fourth-quarter surge with a steal and a deuce, which was countered by a putback from Paden City’s Luke Cooper to make it 35-31.
Pomeroy then scored off two straight drives and White netted an inside bucket to push the lead to nine points.
Later, a nice spin move in the lane by White left Meadow Bridge with a 46-39 cushion 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 spearhead the Wildcat defensive surge. White contributed 11 points.
Kennedy Cain led Paden City with 18 points.
Cain scored six points to pace Paden City to an early 12-2 lead, then Porter converted a jumper in the lane and a 3-pointer off a Pomeroy assist to trim the deficit to 12-7.
“We beat a quality team tonight,” Gladwell said.