Keyser splits with Pendleton and Petersburg in early-season play

Chapin Jewell
Mineral Daily News-Tribune
The guard play of Hunter VanPelt (pictured) and Noah Broadwater has helped lead Keyser to a 2-1 record on the young season.

KEYSER - After scoring a big sectional win in their season opener against neighbor and rival Hampshire, Keyser next traveled South to take on Pendleton and then Petersburg. There would be mixed results for the Black and Gold as the Tornado would narrowly lose at Pendleton 62-61, and then defeat Petersburg in Grant County 60-48.

Keyser’s game at Pendleton was a see-saw, back and forth affair. The Tornado gained the advantage early, taking a 31-21 lead into the locker rooms at the half after outscoring the Wildcats 20-6 in the second quarter. The size of the lead diminished, all the way down to one point, but the Golden Tornado still had the upper hand 40-39 at the end of the third stanza.

Then came the decider, with Pendleton pushing ahead early and midway through the fourth. But Keyser responded with back to back three pointers by Noah Broadwater and Jacob Weinrich in the waning minutes to tie the game at 61-61. With five seconds remaining, however, Pendleton’s Braden McClanahan hit one of two free throws, and one was all that was needed to deliver the 62-61 victory.

In the loss at Pendleton, Noah Broadwater led the way for Keyser with 22 points, followed by Seth Healy, also in double figures with 11 points. Sammy Bradfield added eight points, Jacob Heinrich six points, Jack Stanislawczyk five points, and Alec Stanislawczyk and Mike Schell four points apiece. In addition, Hunter VanPelt added one point.

In the victory, Pendleton was led by Tanner Townsend, who tied Broadwater with a game-high 22 points, followed by Clayton Kisamore with 17 points, and Cole Day and Braden McClanahan contributing four points each. Additionally, Jacob Beachler and Brayden Beachler tacked on four and three points respectively.

“We didn't have Braydon Keller, which hurt us some inside. Also, Hunter (Van Pelt) was in foul trouble all night and only played about five minutes. But, there really is no excuse, considering we held the lead by 10 points at the half,” Keyser coach Johnny Haines stated.

For Haines, it was a positive to see that after giving up the lead late, his team battled to get back into contention, rather than folding, “I did like we were down 8 with 50 seconds left and tied it up, with a chance to win, that was encouraging.”

For Keyser, the game presented many teachable moments.

According to Haines, “I preached right after the game, there were so many teaching points. We will watch the game as a team and learn from our mistakes as players and coaches.  There was a lot to learn and build off of for sure.”

With the Golden Tornado now evened up with a 1-1 record, a 60-48 win over Petersburg at Petersburg on Tuesday promptly put Keyser back into the win column.

The homestanding Vikings gained a slim, 15-13 at the end of the first quarter, but Keyser responded with a strong second stanza to claim a 31-27 lead at intermission. The Black and Gold then doubled up the Vikings 20-10 in the third quarter to amass a 51-37 lead entering the final frame. In that fourth quarter, Keyser did what it had to do to retain the lead and earn the 60-48 victory.

Three Keyser players in double figures to lead the Tornado to victory. Noah Broadwater was tops with a team-high 16 points, followed by Seth Healy and Mike Schell with 10 points apiece. Hunter Van Pelt, Sammy Bradfield and Jacob Weinrich teamed to add six points each, and Braydon Keller and Jack Stanislawczyk added four and two points respectively.

Slade Saville led Petersburg in the loss with a game-high 17 points, and was followed in double figures by Bumby VanMeter with 12 points. Peyton Day added nine points, Logan Thorre five points, Bryson Coblentz three points, and Elijah Kuykendall two points for the Vikings.

“The thing that hurt us early is that we started out slow and let them get open looks. They had six three pointers in the first half.  But, I think our pressure defensively and our patience on offense, along with our depth, wore them down.  Sammy Bradfield played very physically on their best player and that help lead the way,” Haines explained.

Also, according to Haines, “We finally got some productivity out of our big men, Mike Schell really came out of his ‘shell.’ He was a force underneath and produced offensively, we have been missing that.  Also, Hunter (VanPelt) and Noah (Broadwater) had an assist to turnover ratio of 12-1, which was great.  Everyone played and contributed, our team as a whole on the court and bench are getting better every game.”

The improvement comes at no better time for Keyser as the Golden Tornado (2-1) host rival Frankfort (0-3) on Friday in triple header action. Freshman action tips off at 4:30 p.m., junior varsity action is next at 6 p.m., and varsity closes out the evening at 7:30 p.m.

Keyser High School has announced a Gold Rush theme for the contests.