Keyser boys top Petersburg on Senior Night

Chapin Jewell
Special to the News Tribune
Keyser senior Jacob Malcolm swats the ball away from his Petersburg opponent.  Malcolm was one of five seniors honored by Keyser Monday night before their victory over Petersburg.

KEYSER - The Keyser Golden Tornado honored their five seniors on Senior Night Monday.  In turn, those five seniors, Kayden Avona, Trevor Seabolt, Jacob Malcolm, Darrick Broadwater and Vito Amoruso, honored their school as the starting five that got their squad off to a hot start, and were the catalyst for an eventual 45-39 victory over Petersburg.

With all five seniors in the starting lineup and staying there for the bulk of the opening eight minutes, Keyser jumped out to a 12-1 lead and then ultimately a 14-4 finish at the end of the first period.  Petersburg responded with 14 points in the second period, but Keyser countered closely behind with 12 points to take an eight-point, 26-18 lead into the locker rooms at halftime.

The Black and Gold then edged Petersburg 10-7 in the third frame after intermission to take a 36-25 lead into the fourth quarter.  In that fourth frame, Petersburg chipped away at the Keyser lead, outscoring the hosts in the final eight minutes 14-9, but the damage had already been done.  On this special night, Keyser would hold on to preserve the 45-39 win.

“We started all five seniors and I thought that they came out with the intensity we needed.  I thought it was big for them, some of them were on quarantine or were injured, and they played together and got us a nice lead, so I was excited for our seniors on Senior Night.  Plus, they got a victory in their last regular season home game at Keyser High School,” Keyser coach Johnny Haines stated.

“I think maybe I outcoached myself and I should have left them in there a little longer, I’ll take the blame on that.  But, I just need to get some of those younger kids who haven’t seen much varsity action to play with everybody, and we just need to continue to figure out what works, what doesn’t work, and game-time experience is valuable for everybody,” Haines explained.

According to Haines, “I think the energy in practice has really made us push more and push each other.  So, the energy in practice is translating to the energy in game-time situations.”

In the Senior Night victory, Keyser was led by seniors Darrick Broadwater and Vito Amoruso in double figures.  Broadwater turned in a monstrous 2- point, 10 rebound, double-double performance.  Amoruso scored 12 points and added four rebounds.

In addition, Hunter VanPelt added four points, Noah Broadwater three points, and Trevor Seabolt and Jacob Malcolm two points each for the Black and Gold.

“Darrick (Broadwater) is an athlete, he leaves it all out there on the line.  I just said in there, when you yell at him he just smiles at you, he just has this calmness about him.  He just goes out, and if it goes his way he is okay, and if it doesn’t, he’s okay too.  But, he just makes up for it with his athleticism and he is usually one of the best players on the court,” Haines explained.

“It was great to get Vito (Amoruso) back on Senior Night, and he is the glue of our team.  Obviously he cramped up there at the end, but he wanted in that game, he wanted back for this game, he did what he had to do on and off the court, and it’s great to have him back.  We’re looking forward to getting our other guys back and making a little run come the playoffs,” Haines stated.

Keyser also won the junior varsity contest over Petersburg 49-27.  Anthony Mele led the way with 10 points, Donovan Washington and Michael Schell added eight points apiece, and Kaden Urice and Drew Matlick six points apiece.  In addition, Ayden Costilow added four points, Nate Aronhault three points, and Jack Stanislawczyk and Tyler Lannon two points apiece.

Caleb Swick and Trevon Crites led the junior Vikings with 12 and eight points respecitively.

With the varsity victory, Keyser now moves their record to 3-8 on the season.  The Golden Tornado will next travel to Moorefield Thursday for a varsity-only contest starting at 7 p.m., with a Friday varsity-only home matchup with a 6:30 p.m. start to follow.

Sectional playoffs for Keyser will begin next week.

“I just keep telling them, I know we have Moorefield and Elkins next, but redemption is always on our mind, it was last year.  Like any tournament time, if you play your best basketball towards the end of the year, anything is possible.  If we just come together and put four quarters together, I think we can compete in the section,” Haines stated.