POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — A milestone moment in a monster win.
The Point Pleasant boys basketball team defeated non-conference guest Wayne 81-41 for its second straight victory on Tuesday at ‘The Dungeon’, with Big Blacks junior Hunter Bush becoming the seventh member of the program to reach 1,000 career points during the second quarter.
The Big Blacks (8-11) — winner of back-to-back games for the third time this season — took its first lead of the night at 5-4 on a three-pointer by Bush 1:24 into play.
Bush — who entered the game with 991 career points — tallied eight in the opening stanza, leading the hosts to an 18-6 advantage by the end of the period.
Wayne (2-17) started the second quarter with a 4-to-2 spurt, but with six minutes left in the half, Bush and Kyelar Morrow started a 2-on-1 fast break. Bush made a pass under the basket to Morrow, who then passed back to Bush for a layup from the right block with 5:54 left in the half. Bush’s basket gave him career points 1,000 and 1,001, putting him alongside Dale Miller, Jim Tatterson, Elliott Dorsey, Jason Pyles, Dillon McCarty and Wade Martin as members of the program’s 1,000-point club.
After the game, Bush talked about reaching 1,000 points before the end of his junior year, and gave credit to his coaches and teammates for helping him achieve the feat.
“It feels pretty good, setting a goal and achieving it like that,” Bush said. “I still have next year to go, and I can try to get the all-time record. My teammates and coaches have helped me get to this point, and I’ve worked over the summer to get prepared for the season.”
Eighth-year PPHS head coach Josh Williams noted that Bush’s work ethic is what got him to where he his, and that his willingness to still get better will take him to the next level.
“I’m very proud of his accomplishment,” said Williams. “He’s just a testament to what hard work is, we say around here ‘hard work is undefeated’. He’s put countless hours in on the machines and in the gym, he’s in here an hour before practice, he stays after practice, and on days off he texts to see if he can get in the gym. It’s no surprise, he’s been one of the most phenomenal scorers I’ve been able to coach. Even with all that, he still has a lot of room to grow, I think he’s willing to accept that, and that’s one thing that makes him special.”
Bush’s milestone bucket started an 18-to-4 run for the Big Blacks, who went into halftime with a 38-14 advantage.
The hosts started the second half with a 10-to-4 spurt for a 48-18 lead with 4:55 left in the third quarter. The Pioneers rallied with an 11-to-2 run over the next three minutes, but surrendered six of the final eight points in the quarter and headed into the finale down 56-31.
Point Pleasant scored the first 10 points of the fourth quarter, before giving up the next five to the guests. The Big Blacks closed the game with a 15-to-5 run, with the 81-41 final margin as their largest lead of the night.
Coach Williams acknowledged that his team’s offense has been somewhat of a concern this season, but it could be hitting its stride at the right time of year.
“We’ve been struggling with scoring at times this year, and we thought that was going to be one of our strong suits coming in,” Williams said. “We just haven’t shot the ball very well, but it’s getting close to tournament time, so hopefully we’re starting to peak at the right time.”
For the game, PPHS shot 31-of-63 (49.2 percent) from the field, including 15-of-34 (44.1 percent) from beyond the arc, while Wayne made 18-of-51 (35.3 percent) field goal attempts, including 3-of-21 (14.3 percent) three-point tries. Both teams tried four foul shots, with the hosts making all-4 and the guest connecting on half.
The Big Blacks won the rebounding battle by a 38-to-24 count, including 10-to-6 on the offensive end. The hosts had 12 turnovers, six fewer than WHS. Point Pleasant earned 25 assists, nine steals and one rejection in the win, while the Pioneers combined for 11 assists, seven steals and a block.
Morrow led Point Pleasant with 23 points, featuring a game-best seven three-pointers. PPHS senior Braxton Yates scored 17 points and grabbed seven rebounds, while marking game-highs of nine assists and three steals.
Bush finished with 15 points, making three shots from inside the arc and three more from deep, while grabbing six rebounds. Aidan Sang scored 11 points in the triumph, while Eric Chapman had eight points and eight boards, to go with a steal and a block on the defensive end.
Zach McDaniel contributed five points to the winning cause, Nick Smith added two, while Trey Peck chipped in with five assists.
The Pioneer offense was led by Bryan Sansom with 18 points and three assists. Ryan Maynard had six points and a team-best two steals for the guests, while Jake Merritt, Nick Bryant and Kolby Stiltner scored four each, with Stiltner pulling in a team-high eight rebounds. Brayden Queen and Dillon May rounded out the scoring column for WHS with three and two points respectively.
Next, the Big Blacks visit Van on Thursday, before welcoming Wahama to ‘The Dungeon’ on Friday.
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Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.