Parkersburg South's boys basketball team gets its first shot at an Ohio Valley Athletic Conference title today, taking on University for the 5A championship at 5:30 p.m. on the OU-Eastern campus.
For Mike Fallon's 16-4 Patriots, ranked fifth in Class AAA, ''it's something we've talked about -winning different championships during the year, '' said the third-year South head coach. ''And this was one of the ones we wanted, especially since here at South, boys or girls, nobody's won it yet. So it'd be kind of special to do it this year.''
So far, the Patriots' two clashes this season with the 13-6 Hawks have resulted in South wins, but ''neither was easy,'' said Fallon. Both wins came in a three-week span in January, 76-68 at home Jan. 2 and 63-60 on the road Jan. 22.
''They were both really good games,'' said Fallon. ''University's a good team. They played us tough, so we expect another intense, close game Saturday.''
Both teams come into today's game playing probably their best basketball of the season.
The Hawks, 8-5 after the second setback to South, have won five of their last six outings, capped by a 52-40 double overtime victory over Morgantown Tuesday in the OVAC semifinals. The same night, the Patriots dispatched Indian Creek 57-54 in the other semi for their seventh straight triumph before falling to George Washington in overtime Wednesday at the Charleston Civic Center.
Fallon is especially happy with the team's success this season for his group of four seniors, ''who have been with me all the way through, starting when they were sophomores,'' he said.
Fallon credited Tyler Bolen, Doug Dennis, Wes Mitchem and Logan Cox with ''buying in to what we were doing from the beginning.''
Eighty fighters participated in a total of 70 bouts over the two nights at Parkersburg High School.
What put the Buckeyes over the top this year was the effort put forth in the last week leading up to National Signing Day on Feb. 6, with the landing of defensive back Vonn Bell, running backs Dontre Wilson and Ezekiel Elliott, and a trio of wide receivers - one of Meyer's pet-peeve areas -in JC transfer Corey Smith, Jalin Marshall (the No. 1 college prospect in Ohio) and a Florida flash in James Clark.
Bell and Wilson were the major late catches, with Bell possibly stepping right in as a starter at safety while OSU swooped in to get Wilson after the Oregon recruit's commitment faltered following Chip Kelly's departure from Eugene.
Elliott, from St. Louis, scored 100 TDs in his three-year varsity prep career -50 last fall while rushing for 2,155 yards.
Contact Steve Hemmelgarn at email@example.com