PARKERSBURG - South Charleston used a dominating third quarter to take complete control of its Mountain State Athletic Conference game Wednesday night inside Memorial Fieldhosue as the Black Eagles ran past host Parkersburg, 68-48.
South Charleston, ranked No. 7 in Class AAA, grabbed a 30-23 halftime advantage thanks to the interior play of Anthony Billings (14 points, nine boards) and the shooting of sophomore guard Brandon Knapper, who had 11 of his 15 markers in the second.
The Black Eagles, who play Friday at Ripley, opened the second half on a 17-5 run as head coach Vic Herbert's squad improved to 6-1. PHS, which had 24 turnovers and also allowed four offensive putbacks in the first half, watched the visitors make their first six field goals after the break. AD Cunningham, who tied Knapper for game-high scoring honors, canned five consecutive deuces and finished with 10 points in the frame.
Parkersburg head coach Jeff Mennillo's gang only trailed 14-10 after one. Billings had three putbacks in the initial eight minutes, but it was Knapper's trey from a Kentre Grier assist which gave the Black Eagles the lead for good, 7-4, at the 4:51 mark.
Michael Ramsey found PHS teammate Jeremy Stewart open in the corner for a 3-pointer with 54 ticks left in the first, which made it 13-9. The visitors had the four point lead after one when a foul shot by Jordan Lewis was answered by Big Red Ja'Darien Wade's charity stripe toss. Wade was the only Big Red to finish in double figures, scoring 14.
Cunningham opened the second with a three-point play on a putback, but the Big Reds answered with a Levi Hays trifecta via an Andrew Butcher assist. Consecutive deuces by Wade and Hays, the second of which came after Big Red Zach Carroll took a charge on Grier, kept the hosts within striking distance at 21-17.
Knapper's trey with 2:40 left before intermission put the hosts in a 30-21 hole, but PHS went into the break down by just seven after Wade got a putback 20 seconds later.
Billings' bucket from the block opened the scoring in the third and then Cunningham took over with his flurry. Billings followed the barrage with consecutive field goals and Tre Clark's foul shot with 2:14 to go gave South Charleston a commanding 47-28 cushion. Parkersburg's eighth turnover of the quarter, a steal by Kevin Williams, led to an easy lay-in just before the buzzer by Grier as PHS trailed 52-29.
Clark finished with six points and eight rebounds for SC, which was 21 of 43 from the field entering the final eight minutes.
Hays chipped in nine points while fellow Big Reds Michael Ramsey, Darius Basta and Jordan Colebank added six points apiece.
Parkersburg will look to improve on its 2-6 record when Nitro visits on Friday.