Colts punch ticket to W.Va. playoffs

Senior guard Spencer Hudkins puts up a shot against North Marion Wednesday.

PHILIPPI — The Class AA No. 4 Philip Barbour Colts once again had all five starters reach double-digits in scoring Wednesday as they clobbered North Marion 92-58 in a regional bout with a berth into the state playoffs on the line.

With a school-record 22-3 resume and a 15-game win streak in tow, the Colts will begin state tournament play March 16.

Game time at the Charleston Civic Center is set for 9 p.m. against No. 5 Mingo Central (19-6).

On his way to a game-high 24 points, David Shriver lit up the scoreboard with the game’s first three points scored.

He drained 3 of his game high 5 three-pointers in the first quarter to help PBHS take control early with a 24-4 lead heading into the second period.

North Marion generated better scoring in the second frame, but trailed 37-20 at halftime.

“We jumped on them from the get-go, that’s how we’ve been playing all season long,” PB coach Marcus Johnson said. “We got a 20-point lead on them quickly, and that’s hard to climb out of against a good team like we have this year.

“We made North Marion turn the ball over a lot, and they had a lot of traveling violations and miscues. Our guys just came out ready to play and never looked back,” he said. “Our gym was packed again, and the energy was great from the students and all the fans from the community.”

With a 10-7 spurt to get the second half underway, the Huskies cut into the Colts’ lead. Nonetheless, Philip Barbour kept their foot on the pedal to stay in cruise mode.

A key dagger in the third came during three straight possessions by the hosts. Austin Upton started it off by dropping one in from three-point territory in prime viewing area of the student section from the left wing. Then, he dropped back behind the line again in front pf the other side of the home crowd from the right side baseline corner.

With the Colts’ Corral rocking at a high roar, Noah Price hit the next arcing shot for a 9-0 run in just a matter of seconds. That sequence was quickly followed up by a steal, and the ball was fed to Cole Whited for another quick bucket to eventually give PB a 61-36 advantage going into the fourth frame.

Shriver, Price and Noah Matlick put in the last three of Philip Barbour’s team total of 11 treys on the night. Passing and moving, dribbling and cutting, and just overwhelming Big 10 foe North Marion, the Colts’ starters were taken off the floor to loud applause with 3:20 to go in the contest, as Johnson’s squad was up 81-54.

Upton finished with 19 in the scoring column due to his solid jump shots and agile play. Spencer Hudkins inked 10 on the scoresheet to go along with 7 boards, 5 steals and 5 assists as the Huskies chased him around on the court.

Price recorded 15 points, while handing out 5 assists with good vision. Whited wrangled 13 onto the scoring line, collected 8 rebounds and 3 steals, and dished 5 assists.

When asked what the message to the team is going to be in the coming days of practice, Johnson said, “We’ve got three more games. We’re not just happy with going down there. We got three more games to win.”

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