Big Reds hold on to beat Cabell, advance to state

Parkersburg High’s Shay-Lee Kirby (22) and her teammates are all smiles after defeating Cabell Midland in a Class AAA, Region IV co-final Tuesday. The Bid Reds won 48-43 to advance to the state tournament. Courtesy photo

ONA — Despite missing starting point guard Maddi Leggett, Parkersburg defeated feisty Cabell Midland 48-43 Tuesday night in girls high school basketball to earn a trip to next week’s girls basketball state tournament.

Madi Mace scored 19 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked two shots to lead the fourth-ranked Big Reds (20-6) to the triumph in the Class AAA, Region IV, Section 2 championship game at Cabell Midland’s gym. Shay Lee Kirby scored 15 points and pulled down seven rebounds. Bre Wilson scored eight points. PHS coach Scott Cozzens said he was pleased with his team, particularly Mace for withstanding the Knights’ upset bid.

“Madi played awfully well,” Cozzen said. “Shay hit a couple of big threes for us. Bre played well and we had a point guard by committee.”

The game featured six lead changes and five ties before Kirby scored with 5:37 left in the third quarter to give Parkersburg a 26-24 lead it never relinquished. Cabell Midland pulled within 35-34 on a basket by Faith Craddock to finish the third-quarter scoring and the Knights were within 37-35 with 2:49 left in the game when Kirby scored five consecutive points to give the Big Reds some breathing room. Kirby converted a three-point play, then made a layup off a steal and assist by Tavien Clark to put Parkersburg ahead 42-35 with 2:35 to play.

The Knights (19-6) were within 46-43 after Sierra Womack’s layup with 12 seconds left, but Mace made two free throws two seconds later to put the game out of reach and set the score.

“I hate it for our seniors,” Cabell Midland coach Matt Adkins said. “They wanted it so bad. They hadn’t tasted that state tournament experience and I really wanted them to have that, but I told them before the game, if this was there last game, then leave it all on the court and they did that.”

Cozzens praised Cabell Midland, a team the Big Reds walloped 81-56 on Jan. 23.

“They had a heck of a season,” Parkersburg coach Scott Cozzens said of Cabell Midland. “Their seniors played hard right to the end. The difference in the game was that we had a couple of shots go through the net and they had a couple rim out.”

“Parkersburg is a good team and that only one of us is going to the state tournament is a letdown,” Adkins said. “Our region is the toughest in the state. Some of the other coaches might get mad at me, but it’s true. Parkersburg has a good young team and will be good for years to come and so will we.”

Craddock paced the Knights with 12 points. Womack and Kirya Kingery each scored 10.