No magic this time for Big Reds

PARKERSBURG – Duplicity wasn’t in the cards for the Parkersburg boys basketball team.

Having overcome an 11-point halftime deficit in a win against Winfield earlier this season, the Big Reds couldn’t pull off a similar feat after losing to the Generals 51-44 Friday night at Memorial Fieldhouse.

In their second meeting, the Generals built a 12-point advantage at intermission and managed to stave off a furious Big Red surge while improving to 13-8.

“We needed to make one or two more plays – we had opportunities,” PHS coach Jeff Mennillo said. “Winfield is a fundamentally sound basketball team.”

Trevor Britton’s 3-pointer off one of five assists from Ben Umpleby trimmed the difference to three at 41-38 with 4:37 remaining in the fourth quarter, but the Big Reds made just one field goal the rest of the game and slipped to 8-13 with one regular season game remaining next Thursday at Magnolia. Britton finished with a team-high 16 points.

“Our big thing is working on our half-court offenses,” Mennillo said. “That’s what we have to focus on as we go down the stretch toward the tournament. We need to be a little bit more precise on the offensive end.”

Winfield led from the opening tip after scoring the first six points of the game. Chris Turner accounted for six of his 14 points as the Generals extended the cushion to 16-7 at the end of the first quarter.

PHS stayed within striking distance while trailing 20-15, but Winfield caught fire with a seven-point run. The series began with the Generals’ lone 3-pointer of the night when Bear Bellamy hit from beyond the arc off a feed from Zach Fisher. After Fisher scored from inside the post, PHS committed its first turnover of the second quarter and Winfield answered with a bucket from Brock Pence.

The two schools traded a pair of free throws and Winfield took a 29-17 lead into the halftime break.

The difference remained in double-digits at 32-21 midway in the third period when PHS began to assert itself while limiting Winfield to one field goal in the final 6 1/2 minutes of the quarter.

Providing the offensive spark for PHS was Britton with seven points, and all of a sudden the margin was just four at 35-31 with two minutes left before the start of the fourth quarter.

Even though Winfield struggled on its half of the court, PHS couldn’t put a dent on its end and concluded the third quarter with four scoreless possessions.

“I think we might have had three or four trips and took only one shot,” Mennillo said. “That was a big stretch in the game.”

As the fourth quarter commenced, Winfield scored four straight points thanks in large part to a three-point play from Bellamy which extended the lead to 39-31. Bellamy led all scorers with 20 points.

PHS refused to quit and closed to within 45-42 with 1:01 remaining in regulation. Winfield then iced the game by knocking down six free throws in the final 51 seconds.

“I don’t think we matched their intensity in the first half, but in the second half we came out at a high level,” Mennillo said. “I don’t know how to explain not being able to match their intensity for the first 16 minutes, but we did a much better job in the second half. I just wish we wouldn’t have dug ourselves a big hole.”