Williamsburg wins Jackets battle in offensive thriller

Published 3:36 pm Thursday, December 8, 2022

PAUL LUNSFORD

Contributing writer

The scorekeeper at Williamsburg High School probably woke up with sore fingers Wednesday morning after the host Yellow Jackets defeated Middlesboro 101-90 in an early-season showdown.

Williamsburg placed five players in double figures while Middlesboro had four to score double digits.

Sophomore guard Jerrod Roark fired in a game-high 34 points to lead the winning Jackets. Sophomore forward Andrew Smith followed with 22. Henry Bowling, a freshman guard, scored 12 while seventh-grader Ryder Akins and Conner Lay, a senior, each added 11.

Sophomore guard/forward Jerimah Beck paced Middlesboro with 30 points. Junior forward Trey King finished with 15 while Ashton Osborne, a senior guard, collected 14 points and Cayden Grigsby, a junior guard, scored 11.

“If you love offense this was the game for you,” said Middlesboro coach John Wheat. “I was pleased with our team’s resiliency throughout the game. We could have easily gave up when we were down 27 late in the third quarter, but never did.

“We cut the lead down to six with the ball with just under three to play in but couldn’t capitalize,” added Wheat.

The teams battled to a 19-19 tie after one quarter.

Smith had 10 points and Roark scored nine as Williamsburg outscored Middlesboro 35-21 in the second period and led 54-40 at the break.

Williamsburg had 15 field goals in the third quarter to push the lead to 88-62 entering the fourth quarter.

Roark fired in 14 points for the Jackets while King tossed in nine points and Osborne scored eight for Middlesboro.

The visitors outscored Williamsburg 28-13 in the final period. Grigsby scored all 11 of his points in the quarter while Beck added nine.

The Middlesboro coach said several of his players played well.

“Beck played a tremendous game, attacking the rim. He was locked in the whole night,” said Wheat. “Trey King finished with a double-double with 15 points and 12 boards. He was hampered by foul trouble that made him sit most of the first half.

“Cayden Grigsby, who was in foul trouble all night, finished with 11 points and four steals,” he continued. “Brayden Barnard is starting to understand his role of being point guard. He did a great job of distributing the rock to the open man and scoring when needed to. He had 13 points and six assists,” he said.

Wheat also was pleased with Osborne, Trey Kyle and Joseph Killion.

“Ashton played 30 minutes and had 14 points and five offensive rebounds to go along with a couple of steals,” he said. “Trey Kyle, who is battling sickness, finished with four points and four rebounds. Joseph came in and a hit a big 3 from the wing to give us some life during a Williamsburg run.”

It was the most points Middlesboro has scored since pouring in 92 against Gatlinburg-Pittman on Dec. 20, 2007.

The last time Middlesboro allowed that many points, Feb. 7, 2015. McCreary Central hung 102 on the Yellow Jackets.

Williamsburg has been scoring points like that in the first three games of the season. They opened the year with a 93-74 win at Jackson County and rolled to a 97-40 victory at home against Red Bird.

“Incredibly proud of our guys tonight. We faced some challenges and adversity early, and we are really impressed how our guys responded,” said first-year coach Williamsburg coach Anthony Hibbard. “We kept our composure and fought through and played our game.

“We got a really tough game on Saturday. Coach Brad Sizemore is one of my best friends and one of the best coaches in the region. I know he’s going to have his guys ready.

Middlesboro (0-1) will visit Barbourville on Thursday and plays host to Oneida Baptist on Friday.

The Yellow Jackets travel to Corbin on Monday and Red Bird on Tuesday.

Williamsburg (3-0) returns to action on Saturday against Bell County in the Wayne Bargo Classic at 4 p.m.