Patriots hold off Brooke

PARKERSBURG -Parkersburg South got its offense rolling in the middle two quarters, but had to fight off a Brooke rally in the fourth quarter to post a high-scoring 81-77 boys basketball victory over the visiting Bruins at the Rod Oldham Athletic Center Friday night for the Patriots’ 10th win of the season.

South (10-3), ranked No. 7 in this week’s AP Class AAA state poll, avenged a 65-63 loss at Brooke in the second game of the season as 3-point bomber Doug Dennis drilled in six treys en route to a 28-point night while Wes Mitchem was a force inside with 22.

But Brooke’s Russell Schwertfeger tossed in eight 3-pointers in matching Dennis’ point total on the night while Austin Schambach netted 12 points and Thomas Cole 11 for the 13th-ranked Bruins, now 8-5.

The Patriots had it all going their way for most of the first quarter, with a 16-0 run fueled by Logan Cox, Mitchem and Dennis enabling the hosts to turn a 5-2 deficit into a 18-5 lead in a span of just 3:03. But then Brooke finished off the opening period on a 12-2 run to close to within 20-17 by the quarter break.

Dennis popped in three treys in the second stanza as South outscored the Bruins 19-12 in the quarter to take a 10-point, 39-29, lead to the locker room at halftime.

Then another 19-point quarter in the third period pushed the Patriots ahead by 13 at 58-45 going to the final eight minutes of action.

A second Tyler Bolen long pass to Dennis for a layup made the spread 15 points, 62-47, with 7:05 to play, and the margin reached 17 at 66-49 at the 5:57 mark of the fourth quarter. And South still led by 12 at 77-65 as late as just 1:10 remaining.

But Schambach popped in his only two treys of the game in a 10-2 Brooke run that narrowed the gap to four at 79-75 with 21.2 seconds left before South’s Cody Monroe canned two free throws at 10.9 seconds to stem the late Bruin scoring burst.

The Patriots, who play next at University Tuesday night, in actuality won the game at the foul line, sinking 25 of 31 free throws to 10 of 18 for Brooke, as the Bruins had three more field goals (28) than South (25) and also had 11 treys total to Dennis’ half-dozen 3-balls.

”We’ve just got to learn to close out games,” said third-year South head coach Mike Fallon. ”We’ve had so many games this year where we’ve had big leads, but we just haven’t closed it. Once we learn how to do that and figure that out – and our kids will – we’ll be better off.”

”Our best part tonight was when we got flowing offensively, instead of when we were kind of forcing things.”