PARKERSBURG-There's no place like home-just ask the Big Reds of head coach Jeff Mennillo.
Playing its first game at Memorial Fieldhouse this season Parkersburg received a career-high 31-point effort from junior Ja'Darien Wade en route to thumping visiting St. Albans by a 71-52 score in Mountain State Athletic Conference action.
"Probably 27 against Preston earlier this year," Wade explained following the game. "I don't think I've ever scored more than this. But, a lot of the credit goes to the other guys, especially my point guard, getting me the ball."
So impressive was Wade's night that the Red Dragons' Tanner Aliff (11), Jeffrey Seams (10) and Quamise Carter (10) combined to equal his point production and the Big Red player's first half total of 23 points outscored the entire St. Albans team (22) after the first 16 minutes of action.
"I can't remember a player doing that for us," Mennillo said. "Andy Dollman against Princeton a couple of years ago, but I'm not sure."
The victory upped Parkersburg's mark to 2-4 on the season with a road game at Spring Valley on Saturday while the loss dropped the Red Dragons to 1-5 on the season.
"It's good for their (the players) confidence," continued the coach. "To be honest, we aren't as bad of a basketball team as our record. Defensively, we have played pretty well, but offensively, we have been our own worst enemy."
That wasn't the case on Thursday night as the Big Reds hit on six of their first 14 shots from the floor to take a two-point, 15-13, lead to the bench after the first quarter of action. But, then exploded to make 10 of their next 15 attempts in the second quarter to blow the contest open-forging a 40-22 lead at the intermission.
Wade was the primary thorn in the side of the Dragons as the smooth-shooting forward connected on 4-of-6 shots in the opening eight minutes and 6-of-8 in the second.
Joining Wade in double figures was Levi Hays and Jordan Colebank with 10 points apiece while Michael Ramsey chipped in with six points, but also dished out a game-high eight assists.
"We've still got a lot of work to do, but I believe there is a good basketball team in this room," said Mennillo. "The key is for us to continue to get better. Tonight's win is a start and I think it will help their confidence going down to Spring Valley.
"But, we've got to keep taking care of the ball on offense and continue to play hard on defense and hit the boards."
The Big Reds accomplished both against St. Albans as the team committed only 11 turnovers-nearly half coming in the fourth quarter with the starters on the bench-and they out-rebounded the visitors by a 33-21 margin with Colebank hauling down a game-high eight.