Huntington Prep’s Carlos Arroyo poured in 26 points and sparked a huge run early in the second half as West Virginia hit 16 three-pointers and ran away from Kentucky, 116-86, in the first annual Consol Energy WV/KY All-Star game. The contest, played at Mingo Central on Saturday night, featured senior standouts from Southern WV and Eastern KY.
From the opening tip, the WV squad played with more intensity, especially on the defensive end. They led for nearly the entire game, including a 45-34 advantage after Austin Banks (Mingo Central) hit a three at the halftime buzzer.
At the beginning of the second half, though, the floodgates opened. The WV lineup of Arroyo, Banks, Luke Eddy (George Washington), Mackenzie Martin (Chapmanville), and Cody Morris (Herbert Hoover) cranked up the defensive pressure and continued the hot shooting while going on a 25-7 run in the first four minutes of the half to push the lead to 70-41. The WV squad would never look back as they played with a 20+ point lead most of the rest of the game.
Besides Arroyo (named MVP for WV) with 26, WV had a slew of other scorers in double figures. Eddy was phenomenal all game, finishing with 16 points and several assists. Martin (18 points) and Banks (13) each hit four three-pointers. Matt Dolan (Scott) and Marqus Cunningham (Mingo Central) also finished in double figures with 12 and 11 points, respectively. Major college recruit Ray Kasongo (Pikeville) led the KY squad with 15 and captured the MVP for the KY team.
The effort and continuity of the WV team, especially on the defensive end, made it very difficult for the KY team to sustain any runs. From the very beginning, the WV team looked like they had been playing together for more than just a couple practices. They were even able to run some full-court and half-court traps with great success. With Cunningham, Morris, Martin, and Austin Brewer (Tolsia), the WV team was always going to have two solid defensive and rebounding big men in the game.
Perhaps the biggest reason for the blowout, though, was a WV lineup that included Eddy, Arroyo, and either Banks or Dolan. When that mix was on the floor together, KY simply had no answer. Their quickness and intensity on defense forced a bunch of turnovers, and they had three guards on the floor that could both shoot and get to the rim at will on just about anyone. This lineup combination was in during the 25-7 run, and they also had good runs in the first half and later in the second half. That lineup (including two of the four big men) was significantly better than anything KY could put on the floor.
The WV squad was led by Scott head coach Nick Cabell, and KY was coached by Sheldon Clark head coach Frankie Smith. Mingo Central head coach Brad Napier organized and hosted the event.
Earlier in the day, there was also a girls’ contest, a three-point shootout, and a dunk contest. KY won the girls’ game by a score of 83-66. Ray Kasongo, who is a 6’8” freakish athlete, won the dunk contest in convincing fashion when he jumped over a 5’11” teammate. Austin Banks won the three-point contest for the boys while Rachel Ward (George Washington) won for the girls and also claimed the WV MVP in the girls’ contest.
Complete rosters for the game can be found at http://rsnsports.com/news/1029.