South girls belt Brooke

PARKERSBURG – Parkersburg South, the No. 1 Class AAA girls basketball team in West Virginia, started its quest for a second straight state championship Wednesday night with a 89-37 blistering of visiting Brooke in a Region I, Section 1 semifinal at the Rod Oldham Athletic Center.

The Patriots, still undefeated on the season at 21-0, rolled out to 29-8 lead after just one quarter, increased their advantage to 40 at 55-15 by halftime, were ahead 76-27 through three periods of play before ending up with a 52-point blowout.

Keya Bartlett paced the South point-production with 22, followed by Taryn McCutcheon with 16, Katelyn Byrd with 15, Anna Hayton with 11, Amber Cottrell with nine and Hannah Cothern with eight.

For Brooke, finishing its season at 8-13, the Bruins were led by Angela Staffileno with 15 points, and five each from Isabella Preston and Josie Summers.

McCutcheon, Bartlett and Byrd keyed the Patriot first-quarter burstout, combining for all but one of South’s 29 points in the opening period. From just a 5-4 lead for South at the 6:08 mark, the Patriots took off, tallying 24 of the final 28 first-period points to build a commanding 21-point gap already by the quarter break.

The second stanza saw more of what transpired in the first as South continued to expand its lead, led by eight points each in the quarter from McCutcheon and Hayton.

In the second half, the Patriots outpointed the Bruins 34-22, with the lead peaking at 58 with 1:33 to play on a basket by Kelsay Proffitt for a 89-31 bulge.

South now faces Wheeling Park in the sectional finals at 7 p.m. Friday at Rod Oldham in a battle of the Patriots after Park dispatched Parkersburg High 61-42 in the other Region I, Section 1 semifinal in Wheeling Wednesday night.

“They (the Bruins) have a really nice post player in Staffileno, but our guards just overmatched their guards,” said South head coach Scott Stephens. “We put a lot of pressure on the basketball, and they didn’t handle it very well.”

On playing Park for the third time this season, Stephens noted that “they have some kids who can shoot the ball, and they’re dangerous – just like anyone is this time of the year. They put 61 points up on PHS tonight, so we’ll just have to play good defense on them. I figure that PHS tried to press them and pressure them, so they must have handled it pretty well. So we’ll have out hands full Friday.”