PARKERSBURG-The temperature outside Memorial Fieldhouse Friday night hovered in the low 20s.
But, even that seemed warmer than the shooting inside as host Parkersburg misfired on 18 of 26 atttempts from the free throw line (30.7 percent) and made only three of 22 shots from behind the 3-point line en route to dropping a 54-39 decision to Mountain State Athletic Conference rival Cabell Midland.
"I don't want to take anything away from Wheeling Park and Cabell Midland-we lose to Park by seven and missed a bunch of free throws and Cabell beats us by 15, but we miss 20 shots at the line," Parkersburg head coach Kenny DeMoss said. "We just keep finding ways to beat ourselves."
Parkersburg, now 1-2 on the season, will attempt to get back in the win column on Tuesday when it travels to Huntington.
"Our schedule is brutal," continued the coach. "The MSAC is tough, but we have non-conference games against Elkins, Parkersburg South, Wheeling Park and Morgantown. And, we only have one senior with any varsity experience."
That lack of experience showed Friday night as the Big Reds jumped out to an early 8-4 lead only to see the Knights tally 12 of the final 14 points of the quarter to take the lead for good, 16-10, heading into the second quarter.
Sierra Jordan and Emily Pitkin led the way for the visitors. Jordan tallied a game-high 22 points and chipped in 14 rebounds while Pitkin, who added six blocks to her night's work, added 15 points and a game-high 15 rebounds.
The Big Reds received 12 points from Brooke Kurucz and 10 from Kam Snyder in the loss.
"The one thing I love about our team right now is that it gives everything it has for the entire game," said DeMoss. "The kids are playing hard. They are diving on the floor for loose balls and they are hustling on defense.
"If we can continue to play with that kind of effort, I don't really care what our win-loss record is. We tell our kids everyday in practice that the most important thing is to be ready come tournament time."
Parkersburg, who had to play the last three quarters without Nicole Dent, pulled to within six, 28-22, on an Alison Schumacher layin with 7:22 remaining in the third quarter. Cabell Midland would go on an 8-1 run over the next five minutes to take a 36-23 advantage, but a triple by Snyder, a duece by Haley Ackerman and four straight points from Kurucz sliced the margin to four, 36-32, before two free throws by the Knights' Jordan pushed the deficit back to six, 38-32, with one quarter left to play.
A quarter that witnessed the Big Reds have their MSAC foe on the ropes, but were unable to get the knockout thanks to poor free throw shooting and some timely makes at the charity stripe by CM's Pitkin, Haley Haggerty and Jordan.