Black Eagles best Park, will play Big Reds tonight
CHARLESTON — The Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center has a reputation for wreaking havoc on shooters.
In a week where records seem to be falling by the hour at the W.Va. State Girls Basketball Tournament, No. 4 Wheeling Park and No. 5 South Charleston played a game that won’t be viewed as an instant classic by anybody.
South Charleston was able to outlast Wheeling Park, 35-27, on Thursday in a Class AAA quarterfinal that set a record for fewest combined points scored.
The 62 total points breaks the mark of 63 between Dunbar and Washington Irving – two schools not even in existence anymore – in 1976.
“I understand we set a record that has been held for 40 years,” South Charleston coach Gary Greene said. “We will take that. Our defense was pretty solid for the biggest part of 32 minutes and if that means we only scored 10 points and they scored nine, I am good with that.
“Kids played a tremendous defensive effort, especially for the first 16 minutes. Then picked it up again in the fourth quarter when we had to have it.”
Wheeling Park (18-6) couldn’t get anything going, scoring two points in the first quarter and four in the second to go into the locker room with six. Still, the Patriots were only down eight (14-6) thanks to equally bad shooting by the Black Eagles.
“It wasn’t our day,” Wheeling Park coach Ryan Young said.
“We shot the ball off (Thursday) compared to what we have all season. That happens. The only thing we can control is how hard we played and these kids played their tails off. I am proud of that.
“The first quarter, a lot of times in these games are important, and we turned the ball over a lot. South Charleston has a lot of good players that made some good plays and created a lot of easy layups. At the end of the day, this was tough because I didn’t feel like we played our best game, but the kids played hard.”
The biggest difference in the first half was the number of offensive rebounds, a stat won by South Charleston, 7-1, leading to a 10-0 advantage in second-chance points.
“We talked about it at halftime,” Young said. “They had 14 points at halftime, granted we had six, but just looking at the defensive end of things, their 14 points came from a couple runouts at the end of the half, an out-of-bounds play and second-chance opportunities.
“From a defensive standpoint, I thought we were excellent. We just didn’t do a great job on the rebounding part and South Charleston is physical and they had a lot to do with that.”
South Charleston (21-5) held its largest lead (10) going into the fourth quarter.
The Patriots looked to get back into it with two consecutive 3-pointers by Emily Pavlic and Shanley Woods to cut the deficit to four.
South Charleston answered with buckets by Lashea Britt and Maliha Witten.
“It always felt like South Charleston had an answer,” Young said. “Emily and Shanley were gutting it out out there. I was super proud of them. Bella (Abernathy) was hitting the boards, Kieran (Johnson) and Sned (Abby Snedecker) were grinding and Lindsey Garrison came off the bench, along with Veah (Cook) and Maggie (Stakem) all worked hard.
“It just felt like they made a play every time we were creeping back in the game. That is what good teams do.”
Down six with a little more than a minute to go, the Patriots had two chances to cut into the deficit, but each time a 3-point shot was airballed.
The Black Eagles’ Lavendar Ward drained two free throws with 11 seconds remaining to seal a victory and a date with top-seeded Parkersburg at 5:30 p.m. today.
The Patriots shot 20 percent from the field (8 for 40) and their normally solid 3-point shooting struggled (5 of 21, 23.8 percent).
South Charleston was 14 of 42 (33.3 percent).
Wood was the only player in double figures for either team, scoring 13.