South basketball hopes to complete double-double

PARKERSBURG -To most basketball fans, a double-double refers to a player who reaches double figures in two of five categories -points, rebounds, assists, steals or blocked shots.

But that term has taken on a whole new meaning this week at Parkersburg South High School.

Last Saturday, the Patriot girls basketball team, which entered the Class AAA state tournament as the No. 3 seed, claimed their third state title in eight seasons when they blasted Logan, 58-34, in the championship game.

This week, the focus turns to the Patriot boys, who will take a 21-4 record and a No. 5 seeding to the state tournament. South opens play at 11:15 a.m. on Thursday against No. 4 seed Washington.

Coach Mike Fallon’s team is three wins away from the second state title in the history of the South boys program, the other coming in 2003 when the Patriots rode the shooting of Matt Shamblin to the Class AAA championship.

Should the Patriot boys win, South would become just the second school in Class AAA history to win the boys and girls basketball titles in the same year. The only previous school to accomplish that version of the double-double is Capital, which did so in 2001.

Although South enters the tournament as the No. 5 seed, don’t tell Fallon his Patriots can’t go all the way. They’ve already won the championships of the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference and the Big Atlantic Classic, both prestigious accomplishments.

South is a senior dominated team whose roster is littered with multi-sport athletes. The starting lineup includes three seniors who also starred on the Patriots football team -Wes Mitchem, Logan Cox and Tyler Bolen. Mitchem, who will join the Patriot baseball team next week, is the team’s leading scorer and rebounder, averaging 19.4 points and 8.7 caroms per contest. Cox, a two-time first team all-state football player who also is a standout track athlete, is the second leading rebounder at 5.8 per game and also carries a 7.7 scoring average. Bolen, who started at quarterback the past three football seasons, is second on the team in both assists and steals and averages 6.1 points per game.

The other senior starter is Doug Dennis, who leads the team in 3-point field goals with 70 and is its second-leading scorer with a 15.2 point average.

Despite the senior dominated lineup, South’s basketball future will remain bright even after this outstanding class departs. The other starter is sophomore Cody Monroe, who is the team’s assists and steals leader and averages 7.9 points a contest.

Should any of the starters need a rest, there are reserves ready to step in and leave their mark. Perhaps the most important performance by a reserve all season took place in South’s regional win over University when junior Logan Lawrentz came off the bench and contributed 14 points in a 10-point victory. Others who can provide South with an immediate lift include junior Dylon Rippeto, perhaps the best shooter on the team, and junior Tyler Berry, who gives South another big body inside should that be needed.

With all that talent, it’s no wonder South has 21 wins. Three more and the Patriots will bring new meaning to the term double-double.