Parkersburg High School takes down rival South

Wins Region IV, Section 1 championship

Photo by Joe Albright Parkersburg’s Maddi Leggett drives down the lane with Parkersburg South defender Rylee Harner attached to her hip in the third quarter of the Big Reds’ sectional championship win over the Patriots Friday night in PHS Memorial Fieldhouse.

PARKERSBURG — The reigning Class AAA state champions began their title defense in a blaze Friday night at PHS Memorial Fieldhouse.

Parkersburg’s girls basketball team shot 68 percent, including 16 of 32 behind the arc, from the field for the game on the way to a 105-49 Region IV, Section 1 championship win over crosstown rival Parkersburg South.

Smart decisions and positive shot selection influenced the outcome.

“A lot of it was good shots and sharing the ball,” said PHS head coach Scott Cozzens. “We got a lot of easy baskets. Our shooters shot the ball with confidence.

“We talked about it at halftime. Let’s play a full game.”

Photo by Joe Albright Parkersburg’s Bre Wilson (32) and Aleea Crites (20) double-team Parkersburg South’s Sierra Hays during the Big Reds’ 105-49 Class AAA Region IV, Section 1 championship win over the Patriots Friday night in PHS Memorial Fieldhouse.

The 54-point margin of victory was the largest in the history of the series.

An outcome Big Reds’ point guard Maddi Leggett described “feels pretty much like a state championship.”

Leggett was one of four PHS players in double-digits scoring the basketball. She tallied 11 points and Shay-Lee Kirby added 12 points with five steals.

The night however belonged to Madi Mace and Aleea Crites. Mace finished a rebound short of a double-double with 26 points and nine rebounds. Crites poured in 20 points, gathered five rebounds and blocked four shots. The duo along with Kirby all hit a trio of trifectas too.

Rylee Harner and Sierra Hays paced the Patriots with 10 points each. Makenna Winans, Erin Williams, and Skylar Bosley all finished with eight points. Ed Davis’ team connected on 53 percent of its chances from the field, but they also had 21 turnovers.

None of South’s markers came in the first 2:32 of the contest, but four of its turnovers did. PHS opened on a 13-0 run courtesy of Mace and Kirby. Harner’s trey at 5:28 finally put South on the board, but PHS responded with a 19-4 run to end the period.

Mace’s 3 with 1:35 left set the lead at 20 points.

When the smoke had cleared after the first eight minutes, the host Big Reds had connected on 12 of 15 shots to South’s two of six effort.

“The fact we were up so much so early as a team we just started dominating,” said Leggett.

The Patriots did not do anything wrong in the period either according to Davis.

“I don’t think anything happened with us,” he said. “They (PHS) were just unconscious. They hit shot after shot and we changed defenses and they beat everything we threw at them. Give them credit … They shot the ball well.”

The largest lead of the first half came on Kristen Lowers’ floater shortly before halftime. Her shot put the Big Reds up by 36 points at the end of 16 minutes.

South never realistically had a chance to recover as the Big Reds continued a torrid press from the first quarter. Six more of the Patriots turnovers happened in the second quarter. Most of which PHS capitalized on. Winans’ deuce with 2 minutes remaining drew the Patriots the closest they would come the rest of the night at 50-21.

Despite the setback, the Patriots still have a chance to advance to the state tournament for the second year in a row.

Davis told his team at halftime the expectations of another trip to Charleston and South responded in the second half. Though the Big Reds put the lead out of reach on a Leggett and-1 following a Harner conversion early in the third, Patriot players showed plenty of fight in the last 16 minutes.

“I think they competed hard in the second half,” said Davis. “Our kids took a very difficult situation and competed and never quit. I am not a big ‘Write-it-on-the-board guy’ but our kids know our goal is to try to get to the state tournament and it is still there for us.”

South travels to Huntington for a 7 p.m. regional co-final matchup Tuesday, while PHS hosts Cabell Midland at the same date and time.