PHS, South boys set to square off at 7 p.m. today in sectional final

Photo by Joe Albright Parkersburg’s Evan Goudy is guarded by Parkersburg South’s Kerwyn Marshall during a game back in December. The Patriots will play host to the rival Big Reds at 7 p.m. today inside the Rod Oldham Athletic Center for the Class AAA, Region IV, Section 1 championship.

PARKERSBURG — No matter what happens starting at 7 p.m. today in the Class AAA, Region IV, Section 1 championship showdown inside the Rod Oldham Athletic Center, host Parkersburg South and Parkersburg will have at least one more game remaining this season.

Facing off for the third time this winter, head coach Mike Fallon’s 19-3 Patriots earned home-court advantage and will look to play host on Tuesday in a regional co-final if they can knock off the Big Reds again.

“The two regular season games, you don’t worry about those. We are focused on this and those games were so long ago,” said Fallon, whose squad beat PHS 51-46 on Dec. 22 at the ROAC and then won at PHS, 62-61, on Jan. 9

“Everything is going well. We got a lot of older kids who have been through it before and they kind of understand how the games go. When it comes down to it, the kids have to make plays and when it’s crunch time they have to do that.”

PHS, which eliminated Ripley on Wednesday night by a score of 84-43, improved to 13-10 overall for head man Jeff Mennillo. Of the Big Reds’ 10 setbacks, seven have been decided by two possessions or fewer.

“We’re in a good place,” Mennillo said after the Ripley win. “I think our guys know South about as well as they know the guy next to them.

“It’s not like we got a ton of stuff we got to prepare for. We kind of know what we are going to do.”

In the first game of the series, the two rivals combined to miss 36 of 42 attempts from downtown. Despite going a span of 9:32 in the middle two quarters and making just 3 of 8 foul shots, the Big Reds still had a chance in the waning minutes to win.

During the second game inside Memorial Fieldhouse, Seth Dailey’s 3 set the final score at a single point, but PHS went 9 of 19 from the charity stripe and the Patriots forced 19 turnovers.

“It’s been like 10 days since South has played and that layoff is always kind of a hard thing and we had it last year,” added Mennillo, who is getting nearly 18 points a game from Parker Miller, 15 from Brenton Strange and better than nine points an outing from Kionte Peacock. “I just don’t think you ever want that.

“I think you want your kids, at this time of year, to be playing. For us, it’s been a week (before beating Ripley) and it’s still a little longer than I like. We just have to stick to the plan and just be confident. I think all the pressure is on South.”

A year ago, it was PHS which had won both regular season meetings before falling to the Patriots in the sectional final.

Coach Fallon’s team, which last played a week ago Tuesday and spoiled Woodrow Wilson’s senior night during an 81-77 triumph, is led in scoring by Cole Plants (17.8), Shane Snider (14.2), Seth Fallon (10.0) and Brayden Mooney (9.2).

“We needed it. We played three games a week for four straight weeks,” said coach Fallon, who is glad to have Todd Burner back, of the time off.

“The good thing is we went to Woodrow and won without Todd. I think it’s actually created some depth for us. It’s been a blessing in disguise.”

The task at hand next Tuesday in the co-regional finals will not be an easy one as the other side of the sectional has Hurricane and Huntington going at it tonight at Cabell Midland.

“Every success only buys you a more difficult challenge to the next one,” Mennillo added.

Doors will open at 5:15 p.m.

∫ Class A sectional finals

A quartet of Little Kanawha Conference programs are still alive and vying for a sectional title with hopes of securing a regional co-final home game next Wednesday.

Top-ranked Ravenswood, which is 22-1 and coming off a state runner-up finish last year, will play host to Parkersburg Catholic (14-9) at 7 p.m. today in the Region IV, Section 1 title game. The Crusaders lost at the “Pit” 71-54, but nearly upset Ravenswood in the rematch, 63-61.

Despite a 9-13 record, St. Marys will roll into Kidwell at 7 p.m. today in hopes of toppling the 15-8 Silver Knights for the Region I, Section 2 crown. Tyler Consolidated won the first two meetings by scores of 73-58 and 76-59.