South girls win sectional crown

PARKERSBURG – Sophomore center Anna Hayton scored a career-high 32 points and host Parkersburg South overcame “a somewhat slow start” to pelt Wheeling Park 90-50 Friday night and move another step closer to returning to the state tournament to defend its Class AAA girls basketball championship.

The win, the 22nd of the season, for undefeated and top-ranked South in the Region I, Section 1 titlt at the Rod Oldham Athletic Center puts the host Patriots within one more victory of another trip to the state tournament. That opportunity comes at 7 p.m. Tuesday at home against University, which lost to Morgantown, 36-35, on Friday night.

South was up only 13-6 with 2:25 to play in the first quarter, when Keya Bartlett gunned in two straight treys and Hayton tallied inside with 3.3 seconds left to lift the Patriots into a 21-10 lead after one period of play.

The second stanza saw South get its offense into high gear to put up 25 points to another 10 for Park to increase its lead to 46-20 at the half.

Hayton netted 10 points in the period to pace the Patriot offensive attack.

In the third quarter, South continued piling up the points while throttling Park with its tenacious defense. In fact, after Park scored the initial four points of the second half, South ran off the 27 of the next 29 to make a shambles of the game by the end of the third period, leading by a whopping 73-26 margin.

In the 27-2 South third-quarter run, Hayton notched 16 points on eight baskets to complete her evening’s work with 15 hoops and 2-of-2 at the foul line.

South had as much as a 49-point lead, 75-26, early in the fourth quarter.

After Hayton for South, Bartlett bagged 18 points, but all 13 girls who played in the game for the Patriots scored.

For Park, now 9-12 after three straight lopsided losses to South this season by scores of 75-42 and 92-43 before Friday’s 40-point margin of defeat, Kambrea O’Neal led with 17 points and Kendra Johnson added 16.

“We did start out a little slow,” said South head coach Scott Stephens. “We did have a big first quarter, but the first couple minutes of the ball game wasn’t what we wanted. But we played great defense, put a lot of pressure on the ball and limited them. We didn’t give them a whole lot of second looks with too many offensive rebounds. I thought we rebounded well tonight, and once we got it (the offense) going, it was going pretty good. But the pressure was the key.”

On Hayton’s performance, Stephens said that “she played really well. That’s the most points she’s ever scored for us.”