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Wheeling Park returns home with hard-fought win over PHS

Photo by Joe Albright Parkersburg High’s Sierra Mason weaves her way through Wheeling Park defenders as she delivers a pass to an open teammate during the Big Reds’ 60-53 loss to the Patriots Saturday afternoon inside Memorial Fieldhouse.

PARKERSBURG — Despite the rumors that the Parkersburg High girls were going to be down this year, Wheeling Park head coach Ryan Young still expected a battle from the host Big Reds Saturday afternoon at PHS Memorial Fieldhouse.

After his Patriots survived a fourth-quarter rally for a 60-53 win, he admitted he was glad he kept that mindset.

“We built the lead up a couple times and they bit into it and when they did that we did enough to bump it back up. To think you are going to come into Parkersburg and walk away with a win that is just not happening because of the way they are coached and the way they play. So we are happy with the win,” he said.

Bella Abernathy scored 17 points, Lindsey Garrison added 16, and Asia Roby tallied 10 points as the Patriots turned their attention to an opening home game.

“We are focused on getting to play on our home court for the first time since we lost that regional last year. We are trying to get that bad taste out of our mouth,” Young said.

Riley Hilling led the Big Reds with 11 points with a trio of 3-point buckets. But she didn’t get much help. Haley McCale added 10 points, yet the Big Reds shot just 37% from the field.

The Patriots led by nine at the half and never trailed after the opening minutes. There were some sloppy moments, but Young didn’t complain though Cozzens did.

“You can miss shots, miss assignments and all of that, but the effort on the floor has to be way better than it was today. If they aren’t going to do that than we aren’t going to win very many games,” he said.

That effort appeared intact in the opening quarter as his Big Reds matched all but one three-point shot from their visitors. The effort seesawed back and forth in the second period. Until Sierra Mason connected on a three with 4:23 left until half, the Big Reds went scoreless and Park expanded the lead to 26-17. However, Mason’s triple served as a spark as PHS finished out the half strong.

The break may have done more harm than good. Once back on the floor, PHS missed its first seven shots as Park went to work establishing its lead. By the time they were finished, the advantage stood at 52-36.

McCale did her best to single-handedly chip away with seven quick points to begin the final period. After her triple cut the lead to 54-43, Roby responded with her only bucket of the quarter. PHS than ran out of time down the stretch.

The Big Reds now attempt to get back in win column with a matchup against St. Albans at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in St. Albans.

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