ST. CLAIRSVILLE - Simply put, Conotton Valley showed up at Ohio University Eastern on Saturday night with every intention of winning the boys' Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Class A championship.
And just seven days after the Rockets girls' captured the school's first conference title, Coach Mike Fierbaugh's boys did exactly the same.
Senior Brandon Bailey was nearly unstoppable inside with 26 points and 12 rebounds and Conotton Valley had a total of two double-figure scorers and three with double-digit rebounds as the Rockets broke open a close game early with a 25-2 run en route to a 65-42 pounding of Bishop Donahue at OUE's Health and Physical Education Center.
The victory was the 16th in 21 games for Fierbaugh's crew, which launched into a wild celebration with their fans after the final buzzer.
With the Bowerston bunch leading 7-6 at the 3:15 mark of the opening quarter, things took a drastic change with an 11-0 spurt that pushed the count to 18-6 at the end of one. Conotton Valley added the initial five points of the second before a Chaice Truex deuce snapped a 16-0 run.
However, the Rockets weren't even close to being finished, putting up the next nine points to cap a remarkable 25-2 rally that gave them a whopping 32-8 lead with 2:42 to play in the half. The Bishops (12-8) pulled to within 38-18 at the break, but it was just too late.
It was a 24-point margin, 53-29, with eight minutes to play.
"This is just a great group of kids that have done an amazing job responding to hard work," Fierbaugh said. "A few years ago something like this was just unimaginable. I just love these kids.
"It was a great job overall (Saturday), but this was what we wanted to do and we did it. Honestly, second place was not an option for this group. We came close last year, losing by four to Weirton Madonna, but we have a lot of kids back and this was a major focus and goal for them.
"I think it is great that both the girls and boys won championships this year, but they did beat us to it."
Senior Brandon Galigher added 10 points for the Rockets, but rebounding was a big factor throughout. Zach Lyon added 12 caroms while Galigher had 10. Conotton Valley led 22-8 off the glass at the half, 31-15 after three and finished with a 38-22 margin.
Truex and Bryce Jones each finished with 11 for Donahue, which struggled mightily from the floor, hitting 14 of 43 tries. The Bishops had four 3-pointers, but all of them came after the score was already out of hand.
"This is a young group that hasn't experienced this before," Bishop Donahue coach Tom Wise said. ''Hopefully they learned something (Saturday). We have not shot that bad all season long, but for some reason we couldn't get much to fall.
"They are a veteran team with seven seniors and we have just two and I think that showed. Brandon Bailey is a tremendous player and they have a nice team with good size. I really can't raise a lot of heck with my team, I don't doubt the effort given, the shots just didn't fall.
"As far as rebounding goes, I will take the heat for that. We wanted to run a zone on defense and double-down on Bailey thinking if we could limit his touches it might be a good thing. But it created other shots for them and second and third efforts. They just started stroking it when they got their feet wet and started building confidence."