PARKERSBURG - Following a sluggish start, the Parkersburg High School girls basketball team fought an uphill battle and never could fully recover in a 57-47 loss to George Washington Monday night at Memorial Fieldhouse.
PHS (5-9, 4-6 Mountain State Athletic Conference) converted just 11 percent (2-of-19) from the field while falling behind 11-4 after the first quarter. The Big Reds fell behind by as many as 10 points as their patented 3-point shooting failed to materialize in the first half.
"We were outplayed in the first half," PHS coach Kenny DeMoss said. "In the second half, we played much harder and we felt the comeback. We felt the momentum coming, but until we learn to do it for four quarters this is what's going to happen."
George Washington never trailed in the game and improved to 6-10. Kiara Tyler led the Patriots with 22 points, but it was the inside presence of freshman Alexa Peoples which created havoc for PHS. In the second half alone, Peoples scored 14 of her 18 points and grabbed seven rebounds.
"Alexa is a big, strong body," GW coach Jaime Lamaster said. "The strength of PHS is their guards and 3-point shooting - running kids four and five in and out at a time. (DeMoss) made the comment before the game that is their best chance to win, but for our club shooting the ball from deep does not.
"I have a big kid and we try to run the ball through her. We want her to be the center piece of our offense, and it's taken some time for my kids to see it. The more she plays, the more she produces and the more they get her the ball."
Trailing 20-10, PHS climbed back into the picture with a 7-0 run. Madison Pavan spurred the comeback with a 3-pointer followed by hitting two of three free throws when the senior was fouled attempting another shot from beyond the arc.
Midway in the second half, GW surged in front 37-27 behind a pair of buckets from Tyler. And again PHS had a response when Randi Brundige knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers to end the period.
Stacy Blake stepped to the forefront for the Big Reds in the opening stages of the fourth quarter. Her bucket with 5:35 remaining in the contest resulted in a 39-39 tie. PHS, though, would convert just one basket the rest of the way - a 3-pointer from Madison Pavan which cut the deficit to 45-43 with 3:10 showing.
GW built the advantage back to 50-45 then made 7-of-8 free throws in the final 1:04 to secure the victory.
Tori Wilson led PHS with 10 points, while Brundige and Madison Pavan finished with nine and eight points, respectively. The Big Reds, who has lost four in a row, returns to the floor tonight at home against Parkersburg South.
"There is no time to dwell on the losses," DeMoss said. "We don't have time to think about what we are doing wrong. We have to start concentrating on the things we are doing right."