PARKERSBURG-The first of what could be three boys basketball showdowns between city rivals Parkersburg High and Parkersburg South will take place at 7:30 p.m. today at Memorial Fieldhouse.
The host Big Reds (1-3) looking to break a three-game losing skid while the Patriots (2-1) of head coach Mike Fallon will be taking to the hardwood for the first time since dismantling Two Rivers Athletic Conference rival John Marshall by an 83-35 score on Dec. 14.
"It's been nice having the week off," said Fallon. "Especially this week with this game (PHS) coming up. It also gave us some time to work on some things that we needed to work on after our first three games."
Home court advantage proved to be no good a year ago as Parkersburg traveled to the Rod Oldham Athletic Center and dealt their rivals a 78-63 setback in late December then the Patriots returned the favor early in January when they invaded Memorial Fieldhouse and came away with a 71-60 victory.
"I don't think there is much home court advantage in this game," continued the South head coach. "Our kids play summer league games here (Memorial Fieldhouse) every summer and their kids play summer league games at our place all summer."
Senior Wes Mitchem continues to be a double-double machine as the multi-sport standout leads the team in scoring (19.7 ppg) and rebounding (10.7 rpg) while senior Doug Dennis is contributing 18 points per contest and has hit a team-leading 11 triples.
Sophomore Cody Monroe (7.7 ppg) and seniors Logan Cox (6.3) and Tyler Bolen round out the expected starting five for Fallon. Also look for Logan Lawrentz (6.3 ppg), and Kyle Thompson (6 apg) to see plenty of action.
The Big Reds are coming off of a 77-51 loss to Mountain State Athletic Conference rival Hurricane. Senior Adrian Webster was the only Big Red to crack double-figures in the game finishing with 10 points.
Senior Trevor Britton has been the top scorer this season for the Big Reds of head coach Jeff Mennillo, averaging 15 points per outing while fellow upperclassmen Ben Umpleby (7.9 ppg) and Dru Aldridge (11.0) will be counted on heavily to offset the Patriots' inside power game.
"It (the PHS game) is different than any other game we play during the year, but we approach it as preparation for the sectionals," said Fallon. "The atmosphere is always great when we play and the kids tend to get up for playing them more than any other team we play during the season."
Which is why the game is called a 'rivalry.'