No. 1 South girls outlast No. 5 University

PARKERSBURG – Anna Hayton had a dominating performance and Taryn McCutcheon scored 11 of her game-high 20 points in the fourth quarter Thursday night at the Rod Oldham Athletic Center as Parkersburg South knocked off University, 58-50, in a battle of Class AAA stalwarts.

“That’s a senior-laden team,” said PSHS head coach Scott Stephens of the fifth-ranked and now 10-2 Hawks. “They got seven seniors and that’s a nice basketball team. They are not going to lose very many games.”

The Hawks, who suffered a 69-44 setback to No. 1 Parkersburg South in the first meeting on Dec. 17, played the final three quarters without starting pivot McKenley Meadows. The senior, who is third on the team in scoring at 9.5 points an outing, didn’t return after suffering a lower back injury 30 ticks into the second period.

“I thought we got a little tight, honestly, and we looked a little nervous at the end,” added Stephens of his now 9-0 Patriots, who play Tuesday at Point Pleasant.

With the game even at 41 early in the fourth – after McCutcheon had scored underneath and Shae Chico answered with a 14-foot jumper, McCutcheon drained a 3 and then converted a three-point play on the next possession as the Patriots scored six straight and took the lead for good with 7:02 remaining.

University only trailed 54-48 with 2:27 to play, but missed the front end of a 1-and-1 and then followed that up with a pair of misses from the charity line. The Hawks then allowed PSHS to run off 65 seconds before fouling McCutcheon, who went to the floor hard for the second time in the contest and exited again.

Coach Stephens turned to his bench and called upon sophomore Laken Valentine, who had not played, and told her to “go make a couple free throws.” That’s exactly what she did.

Even though Shelby Boyle scored with 34.9 ticks remaining to cut it back to six at 56-50 and the Hawks got a steal on the ensuing inbound, two foul shots by Keya Bartlett set the final score.

Hayton finished with 17 points and had game-highs of 15 rebounds and five blocked shots. Carlie Wilson, who joined Bartlett in scoring six points, finished with 13 rebounds. Katelyn Byrd added seven tallies in the victory.

“There were some times when you look back we had some people who didn’t want the basketball and we’ve got to get over that,” Stephens added. “That’s something we’ve got to work on.”

Wheeling Jesuit-bound senior point guard Mariah Callen eclipsed ex-Hawk and former West Virginia University standout Rebecca Burbridge’s school record for points. She did that by hitting the back end of a two-shot foul for her 1,419th point. That gave the Hawks a 4-0 cushion at the 6:15 mark. Chico, who joined Callen in scoring a dozen points, connected on a trifecta to start the scoring.

The Patriots led 19-12 after one and had a 21-12 cushion following Meadows’ injury when Bartlett got a steal and lay-in at 7:13 of the second. However, Callen scored the next eight points, including a pair of treys, and the visitors led 31-29 just before halftime when Anna Cunningham tallied two of her 10 points on a lay-in. However, the hosts trailed by four when they made an errant inbounds pass and Callen scored the gift deuce.

PSHS, which held the Hawks to just 6 of 26 from the field after the break, used a 10-6 third quarter to even things heading into the final eight minutes. Hayton scored six points in the stanza.

University, which received nine rebounds from Cortney Mercer along with six assists and three steals by Callen, lost the battle on the boards, 46-27. The Hawks play host Tuesday to Wheeling Central.

“We did not do a very good job on screen-and-rolls,” Stephens added. “They picked us to death and back to the drawing board to figure out what to do with that.

“We worked on it every day. We didn’t do it and our helpside defense wasn’t very good.”