Parkersburg Big Reds Girls Basketball: Current News: PHS to tak on South in State Semis

Friday, March 9
PHS to tak on South in State Semis
Parkersburg did its part to set up a grudge match for a chance to even the season series against its biggest rival and a spot in the Class AAA girls basketball state championship game. The third-seeded Big Reds ran out to a big lead early and cruised to a 68-49 win against No. 6 Martinsburg on Thursday night in the state quarterfinals at the Charleston Civic Center, putting them into the semifinals against cross-town rival Parkersburg South in Friday’s semifinal round. “There are great rivalries in basketball around the state of West Virginia, but If you’ve never been to a PHS-South boys or girls game, it’s ridiculous,” said Parkersburg coach Scott Cozzens. “It would be nothing to see 2- or 3,000 people at a high school game during the season. I hope that same type of atmosphere will come down here and support both teams really.” Parkersburg (20-6) jumped on the Bulldogs (18-7) from the opening tip, pressuring Martinsburg into turnovers and flipping those into points on the other end. The Big Reds led 21-10 at the end of the first quarter and 16-13 at the half. For the game, they scored 29 points off 27 Martinsburg turnovers. “I think [the first quarter] was the difference, to tell you the truth,” Cozzens said. “It helped us relax. We get out and we’re ourselves. There has been some games, if you were at our regional final game, we didn’t have that intensity, we didn’t bring that. “In this stage with those bright lights — it’s a lot brighter out there — it calmed us down and we were able to get into doing what we do. If some of those shots don’t go or we don’t get a deflection or a turnover and they go down and get it, it’s going to be a whole different game.” Sophomore Madi Mace led Parkersburg with 25 points on 8-of-13 shooting to go with a 7-of-9 night at the foul line and seven steals. Teammate Shay-Lee Kirby chipped in with 21 points and seven steals while Brianna Wilson scored 12. Martinsburg freshman Prosperity Stitt led the Bulldogs with 18 points, shooting 7 of 9 for the game and a 4-of-5 performance at the foul line. “The pressure got to us maybe a little bit, but I don’t think the pressure in the fullcourt bothered us as much as turning the ball over in halfcourt by just not being patient, not executing,” Martinsburg coach Kyle Triggs said. “Anytime you play a team like Parkersburg, who is going to mix defenses up, you’ve got to keep the floor spaced so their rotations are a little bit longer. We didn’t do that at times and it cost us. They hit a couple of shots when we were right in their face that were back-breakers.” Parkersburg lost to rival South the last two times they met this season — 68-59 on Feb. 23 in the sectional championship game and 63-45 on Jan. 29 at South. The Big Reds won the first meeting 55-52 on Dec. 30 at home. “Some of the best basketball in the state has been played in Wood County this year — just look where we are with South, and Parkersburg Catholic is undefeated with a chance to move on,” Cozzens said. “I would really like to see Wood County kind of evacuate that part of the state and take over the Civic Center [Friday] night.” Friday’s AAA semifinal game between Parkersburg and Parkersburg South is scheduled to start at 9 p.m.