Boys basketball: Breeden finds mark at stripe, GW wins
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- George Washington senior Austin Breeden is quite aware of his free throw shooting struggles.
Although it was four overtime foul shots from junior Chris Kay - and not Breeden - that sealed the Patriots' 53-48 win against Parkersburg South on Wednesday at the Charleston Civic Center, Breeden's contribution from the line was symbolic of where Coach Rick Greene hopes George Washington is headed after ending South's seven-game winning streak.
It was a signature win for GW and a signature moment for Breeden, who hit seven consecutive free throws after missing his first try.
"I probably made seven free throws in a row, when I was younger," said Breeden, a 48-percent foul shooter who finished with 13 points. "Not lately. We'll say it like that. Not lately."
All-State guard Luke Eddy struggled, hitting only 6-of-18 shots, missing all four of his 3-point tries and scoring just 16 points - 10 below his average. However, he added a game-high 10 rebounds, six assists and three steals.
Eddy helped GW (15-4) manage the pressure from South (16-4), which resulted in five third-quarter turnovers - two more than it had in the first half for GW's ninth win in its last 10 games.
"We hadn't necessarily beaten the elite guys," Greene said. "We get up against South Charleston and Beckley and they handed us our lunch. We were kind of in it with Huntington. Hurricane's a very good team we get Saturday.
"I totally agree that we haven't beaten the elite guys. Now, you can say, 'Look, we beat one of the contenders,' and South is one of the contenders."
GW managed to push the lead to 42-36 early in the fourth when Eddy had his lone scoring surge of the game with six of his points in a span of less than two minutes. He all but gave up on the perimeter thanks to some early misses and the South defense intended to get the ball out of his hands.
"We weren't getting the traps on the wings like we wanted to," said South Coach Mike Fallon, in his third season with the Patriots. "I think our guys in the back were a little afraid maybe because Eddy had thrown a couple diagonal passes. Give them credit, he controlled the game for them out there and did a lot of nice things for them."
George Washington's deliberate play shortened the game and helped disallow South from scoring between the 2:29 mark of regulation and at the 2-second mark of overtime on a layup by Cody Monroe.
South had the ball for the final possession of regulation, but a Cox baseline runner was off the mark with 2 seconds left.
"We're weren't trying to hold it, we just couldn't get around their defense," Greene said. "They're as good a halfcourt trapping defense as there is in the state. We were trying to get it reversed, be patient and find a seam.
"We didn't want to run up and down with them and I think the guys did a great job."
In overtime, Dominik King scored a basket off an Eddy assist to give GW the lead and Kay had four foul shots in the final 22.8 seconds to close it out.
Wes Mitchem led South with 17 points, 10 of which came in the fourth quarter. George Washington tried to match up with South's size advantage with reserve Cai Corena, who had only four points but grabbed seven rebounds in the second and third quarters.
In the end, however, it was Breeden leading Eddy's support case for the win.
"We have to have somebody else besides Luke make plays late," Greene said. "I've done this decades and I've coached some great people. I've never coached a better person than Austin Breeden. I'm really happy, I could get emotional."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at email@example.com or 304-348-4837.