Patriots eke narrow win over PHS, 52-50

Photo by Steve Hemmelgarn Parkersburg South’s Cole Plants (13) defends against PHS’ Brenton Strange Friday night in the Class AAA Region IV, Section 1 championship game at South. The host Patriots won 52-50.

PARKERSBURG — Cole Plants and Seth Fallon came to the rescue for Parkersburg South Friday night.

The Patriot duo scored 12 of their team’s 14 points in the fourth quarter and Plants knocked away a three-quarter court heave with just 3.5 seconds left to give South a hard-fought 52-50 narrow win over visiting Parkersburg High in the Class AAA Region IV, Section 1 championship game at the Rod Oldham Athletic Center.

The victory, the 20th of the season for No. 2 South, lets the Patriots stay at home for Tuesday’s 7 p.m. Region IV co-final versus Hurricane while 13-11 PHS, tied for 12th, has to go on the road for the other regional co-final, also at 7 p.m. Tuesday, at No. 8 Huntington. Both on Tuesday’s winners will advance to the state tournament.

After a close first quarter Friday ended with South (20-3) on top at 12-10, the second stanza saw the Partiots forge a 20-12 advantage before the Big Reds began to chip away at their deficit to the tune of 22-21, only to have South’s Shane Snider sank a basket at the 1.2-second mark for a 24-21 lead at halftime.

In the third quarter, PHS tallied five of the initial seven points with Parker Miller’s bucket in the lane at 5:43 knotting the score at 26. But then Snider, Todd Burner and Snider again propelled South ahead 32-27 before Big Red Seth Dailey’s trey at 1:02 cut the gap to only 32-31.

A Snider free throw prior to Malaki Sylvia’s put-back rebound of Snider’s second foul-shot miss for a hoop made it 35-31. South led at 47.8 seconds before the teams traded treys in the last five seconds to leave the Patriots in front 38-34 heading to the fourth quarter.

South had as much as a nine-point lead, 43-34, with 6:32 to go before Miller, Dailey and Brenton Strange brought PHS back to just 45-44 behind with 2:20 remaining. Fallon’s three-point play, though, hiked the lead to 48-44 at 1:53, but Strange countered with a rebound bucket and two free throws to tie things up at 48-all with only 1:11 to play.

After another deadlock at 50-50 with 37.6 seconds left, Fallon drove down the lane to score at 4.5 seconds, setting the stage for the game’s final act.

PHS tried to hurl an inbounds pass downcourt to Strange, but Plants saw it coming and jumped up to bat the ball back upcourt as time expired.

“We practiced that in practice; we knew they were going to lob it down to Brenton, and he’d try to get it to one of their shooters to have a good look at a 3,” said Plants. “So I just tried to go for it to get it out of the way.”

For PHS head coach Jeff Mennillo, “we did a good job with a lot of things tonight, especially on defense and rebounding,” he said, “but just didn’t take care of the ball and didn’t make foul shots — it’s been that way in all three games with them this year” — three losses by a total of eight points.

“If we would have put up more points in the first half,” said South head coach Mike Fallon, “then when they would’ve been up by 15 or 16 about halfway through the third quarter. But instead, we were in a dogfight then.”

Snider led South in scoring with 17 points with Seth Fallon netting 11, Plants nine and Brayden Mooney with eight, while for PHS, Miller was tops in points with 16, followed by Strange with 13, Dailey with 10 and Kionte Peacock with eight.