Patriots beat Hurricane, earn 6th straight state bid

Parkersburg South junior Brayden Mooney cuts down the net following the Patriots’ Class AAA, Region IV co-final victory over Hurricane Tuesday at the Rod Oldham Athletic Center. Photo by Steve Hemmelgarn

PARKERSBURG — Trailing 31-26 at the half, host Parkersburg South came out ready to play in the second half and outdid Hurricane 41-27 en route to posting a 67-58 boys basketball win Tuesday night in a Class AAA Region IV co-final to advance to the state tournament for the sixth straight year.

The No. 2-ranked Patriots at 21-3 will be the #2 seed next Wednesday, March 14 in Charleston at 11:15 a.m. to play #7 seed Musselman in the state tournament quarterfinals.

South, which was ahead for just two minutes in the first half, were led in victory by Seth Fallon with 22 points, 20 coming in the second half, as well as Cole Plants with 13 of his 20 in the second half, Shane Snider who kept the Patriots afloat in the first half with 14 of his 16 points, and Brayden Mooney with eight points.

For Hurricane, concluding its season at 11-13, Nick Muto tallied 23 points, followed by Joe Muto with 14 and Jordan Nicely with 10.

The Muto boys combined for 20 first-half points as Hurricane grabbed an early lead before a Snider hoop at 4:19 of the opening period for South gave the Patriots an 10-8 edge and Mooney’s free throw at 3:43 upped the margin to 11-8.

But the Redskins were up again 16-12 at the quarter break and led throughout the second stanza to forge a five-point advantage at the halftime horn.

“At the half, we talked about that we needed to work the ball more and not do 1-on-1 so much,” said Seth Fallon. “We passed and cut a lot in the second half, and that really opened up things for us.”

South senior Todd Burner, who is making his fourth straight trip to the state tournament, noted that the Patriots hadn’t won at state since 2003, “so hopefully we can make it another one this year,” he said.

For Patriot head coach Mike Fallon, “I thought that we were lucky to be down by just five at the half instead of nine, 10 or 11,” he said. “So for our guys to come out the second half and play like the way they did, we challenged them and they responded.”

To start the third quarter, Plants scored twice and Snider followed to make it 34-32 quickly. Another run, this time 12-2 with Plants and Seth Fallon netting seven and five points respectively in the spurt, propelled South ahead at 44-40 at the 1:43 mark. Fallon’s rebound bucket with 32 seconds left kept the margin at four, 46-42, going to the fourth quarter.

The last eight minutes began with a Mooney basket and a Seth Fallon trey to up the lead to nine, 51-42, at 7:13. But Hurricane fought back to get within four a total of four times before Fallon produced six straight South points in a span of 1:16 to push the Patriuts out to a 61-53 lead with only 56.8 seconds yet to play.

Then South salted the win away with six foul shots in the final 44.9 seconds.