Park. South exacts revenge for 5A title

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — No one in the W.Va. Class AAA playoffs will be looking forward to seeing Parkersburg South when sectionals start rolling around in a few weeks.

The Patriots have been on a roll, winners of 11 straight. The biggest victory of that run came Saturday at Ohio University Eastern when they got a measure of revenge from last year’s title game with a 60-56 victory against Wheeling Park in the OVAC Class 5A championship game.

“This is a good reward for the kids,” Parkersburg South coach Ed Davis said. “We have been up here the last three years and it hasn’t went our way. I was a nice win in a good atmosphere with a tournament-like game against a state title contender. Hopefully this will do us some good down the stretch.”

The two teams are familiar each other and share more just the same nickname.

They split the two meetings this season, with each winning on the other’s home court. South’s victory against Wheeling Park came during its current winning streak.

Wheeling Park makes no secret about what it is going to do. It is going to press you and make you make mistakes. The problem for Park was getting the ball to fall through the hoop in the first half to allow them to set up the press.

Then again, even when Park did find a way to score, South was up to the task in countering Park’s bread and butter.

“I have great assistant coaches that work with them every day and we play some really good pressing teams,” Davis said. “The inbounder is so key for us and to have a senior like Allie Taylor back there is just a plus.”

Parkersburg South (17-3) scored the first five points and other than a tie at 5-5, led throughout.

Taylor hit a big 3-pointer before the end of the first to stretch the lead to eight. That started a 16-5 run and South found itself up 13 heading into the locker room at halftime.

“We dug ourselves too big of a hole and you can’t do that against a good team like Parkersburg South,” Wheeling Park coach Ryan Young said. “On a positive note, our kids battled back and that shows a lot of character. It is an emotional game and I think when we came out, our emotions were all out of whack.

“We will look at this game and know we will have to have control of our emotions from the start. (South) did such a good job of getting the ball out and pushing it. We had a hard time locating kids and we felt like were chasing them the whole first quarter. Once we settled down, things got better, but it hurt us in the beginning.”

Battled back they did.

Wheeling Park (14-6) cut the deficit to nine at the end of third — led in part by three 3-pointers from Brionna Gray.

With Parkersburg South standout Devin Hefner on the bench with her fourth foul, Park made its move.