PADEN CITY - Valley did it from the inside and the outside Friday night while Paden City's youthful boys' basketball team struggled with turnovers and foul trouble all night long.
In the end, Coach John Kocher's Lumberjacks did enough to keep their Wetzel County rivals at bay and posted a victory at the Wildcats' annual Bob and Sharon Burton Christmas Classic.
Sophomore Clay Ueltschy dominated inside with 19 points, while seniors Drew Wade and Brady Nolan handled the outside as Valley fought off Paden City all night long, but never trailed in posting a 64-52 victory against the Cats at the Bob Burton Gymnasium.
Valley (1-1) will take on Wood County Christian (2-0) in tonight's championship game. The Wildcats pounded Hundred by an 86-35 margin in the opener.
Meanwhile, Paden City will take on the Hornets in the consolation game at 6 p.m.
In between games, Burton's 1987 West Virginia Class A state championship team will be honored for its 25th anniversary. That team finished with a sparkling 27-0 record.
After posting a quick 5-0 advantage, the Lumberjacks watched their rivals score the next four to provide the game's closest score. Valley eventually led 12-8 after one, and after leading by as many as 15 in the second quarter, took a 33-24 upperhand to the locker room.
Kocher's club led by as many as 11 again in the third before Wade's 3-pointer just ahead of the buzzer pushed the margin to 46-34 with a quarter to play.
The biggest lead of the contest came at 60-42 on a Wade steal and hoop with 2:53 showing, but the hosts managed to get it back down to 12 late.
Coach Fred King started three freshmen, and played with four on the court a good bit, but with youth comes mistakes and Paden City had 26 turnovers and had a pair of key ninth graders in foul trouble before the horn sounded to send the game to the half.
"We played with four freshmen out there most of the time," King said. "And it seemed like as soon as you thought it was going to be all right, the 14-year old came out of them and we were turning the ball over or giving up a bad foul.
"There was a lot of unforced turnovers, but that has to do with the fact that we are not lighting quick at the guard position, and we still have plenty of work to do there.
"We also have to run the plays that are called, not just make them up out there. But those are things that will come with time. I was pleased with our positioning on rebounds and we really played good defense most the game, at least until late in the third quarter.
"The bottom line is that the 52 points we scored was about 25 more than we scored in any game last year, so we are getting there."
Wade finished with 12 for the Lumberjacks, while Nolan contributed 10 and Hunter Ring nine. Brandon Cross, one of the six freshmen the Wildcats boast, had a team-high 14 points while classmate Zach Heasley finished with 11.
Kennedy Cain and Craig Allen, both also ninth graders, played most of the night in foul trouble, with Cain going to the bench for the final time with 2:20 to play in the third. Senior Geoffrey Bidwell also fouled out for the Wildcats.
"Coming in we knew they had two freshmen (Cain and Allen) who could really shoot the ball and we needed to find a way to stop them," Kocher said. "So we put Ueltschy and Wade on them and they just did a fantastic job.
"Eventually we were able to get both of them into foul trouble. Offensively we kind of relied on the outside early and then got the inside game going. It seemed like they kept making runs, but we kept making big 3s to hold them off.
"Paden City has a nice young basketball team, and I am very happy about the way we played defense against them (Friday)."
Wood Co. Christ. 86
In the opener, the Wildcats took control with a 17-1 spurt that extended from the 3:28 mark of the opening frame until 6:40 of the second and broke open a four-point game.
Seniors Kalen Gandor and Seth Rataiczak scored six points each during the run as the talented group from Williamstown began showing its dominance.
Thanks in large part to a 14-2 roll to end the third quarter, the 'Cats pushed out to their biggest lead of the night at 68-31 to begin the fourth. The designated visitors finished things off with a game-closing 16-point run.
Rataiczak and Gandor each dropped in 19 for the winners with Rataiczak added 13 rebounds. Luke Wolfe scored 14 while Tyler McIntosh and Jamie Arnold were also in double-figures with 10 apiece.
Junior Rusty Morris paced the Hornets, sharing game-high honors with 19.
"We played very well as a team (Friday)," Wood County Christian coach Dan Ellis said. "And our point guard did an outstanding job distributing the ball and making sure that happened.
"I am very pleased with the overall teamwork. We actually only have one starter back from last year, but I feel like we have a lot of experience with a group of kids that played together on the jayvee team."