One win from the state tourney

Patriots at home; PHS?on the road

Parkersburg South’s Sierra Hays tightly defends Huntington’s Mariah Harmon during a regular-season matchup won by the Patriots.

PARKERSBURG — Allie Taylor’s final home game of her Parkersburg South girls’ basketball career happens to be the biggest contest she will play in as a starter inside the Rod Oldham Athletic Center.

“It is great,” said Taylor on being in the ROAC one more time. “Last year I didn’t care and was like ‘You know we are going to Huntington … It is fine,’ but now it is really hitting me it will be my last time playing at South. I am so excited I get one more time to play here at home.”

She won’t be the only one pumped up when the Patriots take the floor at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Everyone crammed into the ROAC is sure to feel the adrenaline flowing too for one of the most important games of the Patriots’ season.

A trip to the state tournament is on the line when the blue and white with a touch of red host Spring Valley in a Class AAA Region IV co-final.

Parkersburg High's Bre Wilson (32) and Madi Mace (35) double team Ripley’s Alexandra Miler during the Big Reds’ Class AAA Region IV, Section 1 semifinal win over the Vikings.

The Timberwolves lost to No. 5 Cabell Midland in the Region IV, Section 2 final to draw the road trip. It is the second straight season Spring Valley is on the road for regional play. PHS beat them in the fieldhouse last season.

Though the two teams didn’t meet in the regular season, they did scrimmage each other before the campaign got underway.

Spring Valley is led by pair of sister guards in Morgan and Madison Vaughn, two ladies Parkersburg South Head Coach Ed Davis thinks may give the Patriots some problems.

“They have played so much and have a lot of experience,” said Davis.

“If you play them man (defense) they drive you pretty hard and if you play them zone they just knock down 3’s over you. Those are our two primary concerns. The Caldwell girl is a good left handed shooter for them as well. They have three good perimeter players that have played a lot of basketball, and anytime you have experienced guards that can give you a big advantage because they have the ball in their hands all the time.”

Fortunately for the Patriots, they have been pretty consistent guarding the basketball. Sierra Hays, Kenzie Johnson, Devin Hefner, Charity Anderson, Rylee Harner and Allyssa Wilson have down an excellent job of making life hard for opposing 1s, 2s and 3s.

“Kenz and Sierra have taken the two toughest guard assignments each night and they take a lot of pride in it,” said the second-year head man. “And I think that has been the biggest difference and they move pretty well out front in the zone to cover shooters. That has been the biggest differences.”

Timberwolves’ head coach Bo Miller pointed out Makenna Winans gave them some trouble during the pre-season matchup. But he knows she won’t be the only road block Spring Valley must overcome to advance.

Those who have been inside the ROAC know everyone is on top of the court, not to mention the Southside Psychos will be out in full force, which can unnerve a lot of first-time visitors to the building. Spring Valley doesn’t play in a gym like this and Miller’s team is making the trip to the site for the first time.

“The kids will probably be a little shocked as they have never played there in the regular season – Hopefully they aren’t too scared,” said Miller. “It is a huge task to take them (South) on and we have played some of the best in the state and they are definitely one of two of three great teams still playing.”

Miller sends a starting lineup of the Vaughn sisters, Payton Caldwell, Haley McComas and Tinisha Lilly to combat the Patriots’ top 5 of Winans, Taylor, Hefner, Johnson and Hays. Breaunna Saunders, Gracie Crisp and Carolina Asbury come off the pine for the Timberwolves, while Harner, Anderson and Wilson are the top subs for South.

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Big Red girls travel to Cabell Midland

A trip to Ona for a chance to go to the state tournament wasn’t quite what the Big Reds had in mind against Parkersburg South in the sectional final last Friday night.

However, this is the situation the Big Reds find themselves in after a 68-59 loss to the Patriots.

Scott Cozzens’ team isn’t happy about going on the road, but the Big Reds do own a convincing victory over the Knights already this season.

Madi Mace recorded a double-double of 27 points and 10 rebounds in an 81-56 win back on Jan. 23.

Not only will Matt Atkins team surely be aware of the Big Reds’ sophomore, but holding on to the ball will likely be a top priority as well.

Cozzens’ defense forced 17 first-half turnovers and 12 steals that helped build the comfortable lead.

Game time is 7 p.m. Tuesday.

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