Parkersburg Big Reds Girls Basketball: Current News: PHS Beats Park on the Road

Wednesday, December 13
PHS Beats Park on the Road

WHEELING — Statistically, Tuesday night’s West Virginia Class AAA Top 5 showdown between Parkersburg and Wheeling Park looked like a game that the Big Reds probably should have led most, if not all of the way.

After all, the Lady Patriots did turn the ball over 35 times, helping to limit themselves to a mere 37 field goal attempts in the contest. However, it was actually Coach Ryan Young’s squad that held the lead for three quarters, before turnovers, their low shot count and a rugged Parkersburg defense did them in.

Junior Shaylee Kirby, the only Big Reds starter not in foul trouble or fouled out, scored 14 of her game-high 22 points in the second half and visiting Parkersburg overcame a 14-point third quarter deficit to stun Wheeling Park, 63-59.

The loss was the first in four tries for the Patriots, who entered the contest ranked No. 5 in the latest Class AAA poll.

Meanwhile, Coach Scott Cousins’ Big Reds are now 3-0 and ranked No. 2.

“We quit turning the ball over and we made better decisions at the end of the game,” Cousins said.

“It is a little different coaching a team that is mainly made up of sophomores and freshmen, especially when you are playing a team that puts four or five seniors on the floor.

“But games like this are going to do nothing but help us get better. We are road warriors, with only six home games this year. And we play 13 games against some of the top AAA teams in the state either on the road or at neutral sites.”

The Patriots led 47-33 on a put-back from senior Laurel Robb with 3:40 to go in the third period, and still had a comfortable 55-46 advantage heading into the final eight minutes when classmate Kylie McKennen drained a pair of charity tosses.

But that is when everything began catching up to Park, which was just 2-of-7 from the floor and 0-of-3 from the foul line with seven turnovers in the fourth quarter. They also lost senior Morgan Glass to a leg injury late in the third.

Parkersburg scored the initial 14 points of the final frame, taking its first lead of the night at 56-55 on a floater from sophomore Aleea Crites with 3:38 to play. With the score at 60-55, Park hit its only two field goals of the period four seconds apart. McKennen hit a driving shot at 2:22 before sophomore Shanley Woods, who had four triples and tied for scoring honors with 14, stole the inbounds pass and scored to cut the deficit to 60-59.

A pair of Big Reds’ charity toss at 24 seconds made it 61-59 with Park taking the ball down court and calling time-out with seven seconds remaining. McKennen again drove the line when play resumed, only to have her attempt batted out of bounds with 1.2 showing. That was quickly followed by Park’s 35th and final turnover of the night and two more free throws from the visitors to finish things out.

“I told the girls at the half that we were letting Park dictate the pace and we were settling for some bad shots,” Cousins added. “But we did a lot better job in the second half. I also think the girls did a great job not fouling out. We play an aggressive defense and we foul a lot.

“The kids will learn how to play without doing that eventually, and through three games we are definitely getting better at it.”

The first half featured 23 fouls, 16 by the Big Reds, who had two girls foul out and three others finish with four in the game, and 41 turnovers.

Wheeling Park scored the first eight points of the game, in the initial 1:49 of play, with Parkersburg turning the ball over eight times in the game’s first four minutes. The visitors cut the deficit to 12-11 midway through the period and tied it once, at 14-14.

The Patriots led 24-18 after a quarter and 35-28 at the break.

“Morgan Glass getting hurt late in the third quarter made a difference,” Young said. “Her going down hurts us in ways that people don’t understand. But we still had enough kids and we felt like we should have been able to handle things better.

“This was a good test for us and when we look at the tape hopefully we can figure out some of the turnovers and as coaches figure out how to get better and prevent them in the future.

“We told the girls at the half that it was an encouraging fact that we had 22 turnovers and a seven-point lead, but it doesn’t make having 22 turnovers any less disappointing. Overall, I had a goal of coming out of December with a .500 record and we have taken a big step towards that. Now we have to deal with a good University team on Thursday.”

McKennen equaled Woods with 14 for the Patriots, who led 30-27 off the glass but only had two caroms in the fourth. Madi Mace added 19 for the winners with Briana Wilson scoring 12. The Big Reds turned the ball over 26 times, 19 of those coming in the first half.