South, PHS meet tonight at Oldham Center

PARKERSBURG-The last thing Parkersburg South boys basketball coach Mike Fallon wanted to see was his Patriots head into tonight’s showdown against crosstown rival Parkersburg High at the Rod Oldham Athletic Center coming off a two-game losing streak.

Seniors Wes Mitchem and Doug Dennis took care of that when they combined for 53 points in a 90-77 victory over Wheeling Park Saturday night at the ROAC.

“It (winning on Saturday) takes some of the pressure off of our guys,” Fallon said. “We always expect a tough game when we play them (the Big Reds) and we’re expecting a tough game tonight.

“You just don’t want the added pressure of a losing streak when you are playing your biggest rival.”

The No. 10 ranked Patriots (8-2) had their way against their Wood County rivals in the two teams’ first meeting. Mitchem led all scorers with 23 points while Dennis chipped with 14 as Parkersburg South came away with a 75-45 victory at Memorial Fieldhouse. Defensively, the visitors forced 20 total turnovers by the Big Reds-11 coming on steals-in the second half alone.

Parkersburg (4-7), which is coming off of a 58-57 overtime win at Nitro on Saturday, received 13 points apiece from Dru Aldridge and Trevor Britton in the opener against the Patriots. But, it was not enough as Cody Monroe pumped in 13 points and Logan Cox added nine for South.

“It is very important that we get that kind of production from our players,” said the South coach. “Teams have been trying different things to take Wes (Mitchem) and Doug (Dennis) away from us. But, as long as we can get scoring from our other starters and the reserves continue to come in and contribute the way that they have, then it will make it harder for defenses to stop those two.”

Something Wheeling Park could not do on Saturday.

Mitchem tallied eight points in both the first and second quarters and scored a game-high 30 points to lead the Patriots to their eighth win of the season (8-2). And, when the Northern Panhandle Patriots attempted to slow down Mitchem inside, Dennis made them pay for their decision with 23 points-12 coming off of four treys.

Dennis wasn’t the only Patriot hitting from beyond the arc as Mitchem and Dylon Rippeto added a pair of triples apiece while Logan Lawrentz chipped in with one.

The expected starting lineup for veteran PHS head coach Jeff Mennillo appears to be senior-dominated as Andrew Bayer, Ben Uppleby, Britton, Adrian Webster and Braeden Cabbil look to be the first to see action tonight. However, fans should also expect to see Levi Hays, Reid Strobl, Jordan Henderson, Jordan Colebank, and Andrew Butcher.

Fallon will counter with senior Tyler Bolen, Dennis and Monroe at the guard slots with Mitchem and Cox handling the duties inside the paint. Also expect Logan Lawrentz, Dylon Rippeto, Tyler Berry and Kyle Thompson to see plenty of action on the hardwood.