South girls join boys with victory over Big Reds

PARKERSBURG -Scoring the first nine points of the game was all fine and good for Parkersburg South.

Yet, it was the first two minutes of the second half that had the top-ranked Patriots playing with a purpose and eventually seal a 79-42 win against crosstown rival Parkersburg High Thursday night at the Rod Oldham Athletic Center.

After PHS dissected South’s press for 10 points in a two-minute span just before halftime, Taryn McCutcheon and Keya Bartlett knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers and Carlie Wilson added a three-point play the old-fashioned way as part of a 10-point spree which padded their lead at 43-15.

“We got a little flat there at the end of the second quarter,” South coach Scott Stephens said after his ballclub improved to 6-0. “I think we got a little tired. We were pressing, but we played much better there at the start of the second half.

“We haven’t been coming out of halftime very strong this year. We’ve been a little sluggish, so I was really pleased to see them pick it up in the third quarter.

PHS, which dropped to 2-6, never recovered as the advantage reached as many as 46 points at 77-31 when South reserve Amber Cottrell connected from 3-point range midway in the fourth quarter.

“We’re young and we have yet to find our identity we find it in spurts,” PHS coach Kenny DeMoss said. “The thing is, we have to stay patient as coaches and players. South is a really good basketball team. And now over our next five games before we meet them again we will be playing some teams that are not undefeated.

“Hopefully, we can get a few wins under our belt to get some more confidence for us before we play them on Jan. 27.”

Following a pre-game ceremony that honored former PHS and Parkersburg South coach Larry Edwards, who died in November following a battle with ALS, and a plaque presentation to his wife, Carolyn, the Patriot girls dialed from long distance with consecutive treys from Bartlett and Katelyn Byrd as part of a 9-0 run.

Bartlett, who finished with 23 points on six 3-pointers to go with five steals, converted a layup off one of 14 first-quarter turnovers which put the Patriots in front 15-4 with under a minute remaining in the period.

As a team, South combined for 10 3-pointers.

“Keya has been playing well for us, and she did again tonight,” Stephens said. “I always say big people play big in big games and Keya brings her ‘A’ game when there is a big game.”

South prevented PHS from making a field goal in the first 6 1/2 minutes of the second quarter and the margin increased to 23 at 28-5.

PHS showed some life in the final two minutes of the period as Haley Ackerman scored two buckets as the Big Reds outscored South 10-5 as the first half ended with the Patriots leading 34-15.

“Even though we were down 19, we had a lot of confidence going into halftime,” DeMoss said. “The pressure didn’t hurt us that bad – we made unforced errors on our part. We made dumb mistakes.”

Joining Bartlett in double figures in the scoring department were Anna Hayton with 17 points and McCutcheon with 13 points to go with eight assists. Wilson pulled down a game-high 14 rebounds.

Ackerman and reserve Taylor Foster each scored eight points to lead PHS.

“We have to grow up, and grow up fast – we can’t keep using our youth as a crutch,” DeMoss said. “I absolutely believe in our kids. We just have to keep working and keep getting better.”