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PHS knocks off South

Mason, healthy Big Reds roll past Patriots in sectional title game

Parkersburg’s Sierra Mason, who scored a game-high 25 points, makes a move with the basketball while Parkersburg South’s Mo Akita defends during the Big Reds’ 67-49 Class AAAA, Region IV, Section 2 victory Friday night at Rod Oldham Athletic Center. (Photo by Jay W. Bennett)

PARKERSBURG — Sierra Mason poured in a game-high 25 points while teammates Brilynn Florence and Hayley McCale added a baker’s dozen markers apiece here Friday night to help lift Parkersburg to a 67-49 victory against Parkersburg South in the Class AAAA, Region IV, Section 2 championship game contested inside Rod Oldham Athletic Center.

The 8-7 Patriots of head coach Rick Dobson, who got 15 points from Hannah Wingrove, 14 by Skylar Bosley and nine from Rylee Harner, had the game even at 27-all with 6:15 left in the third after a Mo Akita steal led to a Bosley free throw.

However, the now 10-8 Big Reds of head man Scott Cozzens then got a 3 from Florence and a three-point play by Mason that started a quarter-ending and game-changing 24-6 spurt.

Parkersburg now will take on No. 1 Cabell Midland at 7 p.m. Wednesday inside Memorial Fieldhouse with a berth in the state tournament on the line. PSHS heads to No. 2 Huntington, which upset the Knights 60-47, the same evening.

“That’s our second game we’ve had our full roster back,” noted Cozzens, who also received two blocks from McCale while Kisten Roberts finished with three points, five boards and a game-high six steals. “They just play so much better, that group, together. They read off each other better. They have a lot of confidence. They love playing with each other.

“With them out during the year we were able to develop a bench. I had kids playing against varsity teams that would normally just be JV players, but they were thrust into it in this weird year and they did really, really well. I’m so proud of these kids and now we have a bench.”

Bosley had a pair of lay-ins during the Big Reds’ barrage and the last one with 3:15 left still had the Patriots down just two possessions at 37-31.

Mason, though, canned one of her four triples and the Big Reds stretched their advantage to double digits for the first time at 42-31 when Payton Harvey had a steal and a layup on what was then the Patriots’ 16th turnover. Harvey finished with eight points, a game-high four assists and a trio of steals.

Aubree White’s two charity stripe tosses to close out the period still had the Patriots in a 51-33 hole.

“Once Kisten and Hayley came back I knew we were confident in winning this game,” said Mason. “I miss playing with them. They bring up my confidence so much for this game and I finally got my shot back so that was good.”

Even with a 27-20 lead at the break and the Patriots tying it early in the third, Mason said there were never any doubts.

“No. I was confident in the game. I was confident,” she added. “It’s (Cabell Midland) going to be a hard game. They are going to be good and they play just like us, just a little bigger.”

PHS shot 52% (26 of 50) from the field while the Patriots were held to 31.3% (15 of 48). Each team had 23 turnovers, but the Big Reds’ press provided plenty of dividends.

Harner grabbed a game-high six rebounds. Akita, who had a team-high three assists, joined White in collecting a quartet of steals apiece.

“We played pretty well in that five minutes,” Cozzens noted. “We did that trying to come back in some games when we had big holes, but today was a little different.”

He’s also hoping Wednesday will be different and the Big Reds can upset the Knights.

“Midland is a good team and they spanked us pretty good,” he added. “If you go back and look at that game we had a bad quarter, a really bad quarter, and other than that we kind of played with them a little bit. When this started we talked about it and I said ‘no one in this state is respecting you now.

“I said ‘write your story. The group that went through had their story now write your story, dream big. How cool would it be, at one point to be like 5-8, and now we are going to the state tournament. How cool would that be?'”

Contact Jay Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com

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