In the last game of his high school career, Jake Straughan went out a star.
He also went out as Colton High School’s record holder for most points in a career (1,440) and led his Wildcats to a 59-46 win over the Pomeroy Pirates to grab the State 1B boys basketball championship.
“This is one of the best moments of my life,” Straughan said. “I really felt like we put it together a couple weeks ago and we knew we were going to win a state title.”
Straughan scored the game’s first eight points and teamed with fellow senior Dalton Patchen for 46 points. Straughan finished with 25 and Patchen pitched in with 21 points and grabbed 19 rebounds.
Pomeroy struggled in the first half, making just 29 percent of its shots and had a hard time finding good shots to take. By halftime, Colton sat comfortably with a 28-18 lead.
But the Pirates had new energy in the second half and used a full-court press to slow Colton down and force some turnovers. The Pirates outscored the Wildcats 21-14 in the third quarter and got four points in the final 2 seconds after Cole Mayfield stole Colton’s inbounds pass and beat the buzzer following a Cody LeMunyan basket.
The strong third quarter helped Pomeroy pull within three points of the Wildcats. Pomeroy’s pressure wasn’t unexpected, though.
“We’ve been through it before,” Colton head coach Seth Paine said. “We know them and we knew it was coming. We made a couple small adjustments and it finally paid dividends for us.”
But as was the case in the first half, the Pirates had trouble finding baskets the rest of the way and only got one from the field in the final quarter. Pomeroy made just 35 percent of its field goals for the game.
The Wildcats withstood the Pirates’ pressure in the fourth quarter. A Dillon Frank 3-pointer extended Colton’s lead to 50-43 and all but sealed the victory midway through the final frame.
Pomeroy’s front court tandem of LeMunyan and Riley Bott led the way for Pomeroy, scoring 16 and 12 points, respectively. But the two leading scorers on the season for the Pirates could not get enough easy shots throughout the game.
“We just had a game plan of kind of packing it in and try and get them to shoot from the perimeter,” Paine said. “I think we did a good job of that.”
The Wildcats were without Straughan until the last six games of the regular season due to a leg injury. Patchen also missed some time early in the season.
“It makes me so proud to be a Colton Wildcat,” Paine said.