GLEN DALE - Friday night's tilt between West Virginia Class AAA powers John Marshall and Parkersburg South was truly a tale of two halves.
After falling behind by eight points at halftime, the Monarchs came out on fire in the second, outscoring the Patriots 33-13 en route to a 59-47 victory in the semifinals of the John Marshall Holiday Tournament at John Marshall High School.
The Monarchs (3-0) will face Wheeling Central - a 55-35 winner against Indian Creek in the night's other semifinal - at 8 tonight for the championship.
Photo by Rick Thorp
John Marshall’s Kylie Howard (24) takes a jumper over Parkersburg South’s Kasey Williams (15) during their game Friday night in Glen Dale.
South, meanwhile, will play Indian Creek at 6 p.m. in the consolation contest.
''South is a great team and a great program,'' JM coach Mark McCormick said. ''This is a great win for our kids.''
The teams played almost even in the first quarter, but South started the second on a 13-4 run to seize control with a 30-18 lead.
''What hurt us was the fact we didn't rebound and we forced a lot of things on the offensive end and committed turnovers that are very uncharacteristic of us.''
South was doing the job from the inside and the outside. And leading the way was Keya Bartlett, whose overall floor game led to seven points in the second quarter. She finished with a game-high 16.
JM found itself behind 32-21 before pulling to within 34-26 at halftime.
There, McCormick made an adjustment based on something he saw in Wheeling Park's 50-49 victory against South last week.
''I remembered they were having difficulty with the zone,'' McCormick said.
''I'm not a zone kind of guy, but we started out (the second half) with a 2-3, but with their shooters, and they have some sharpshooters when they get their feet set, we went to a 3-2.
''But in addition to that, we took care of the ball, were patient and cut down on the turnovers.
''We didn't rush anything like we had in the first half.''
While the Monarchs got better looks, the shots didn't drop until Jenna Stephens connected on a jumper with 3:15 left in the quarter.
Bartlett stretched the lead back to 11 at 41-29 moments later, but from there it was all JM.
The Monarchs went on a 16-0 run to grab a 45-41 lead early in the final quarter.
Stephens' trey, followed by a Kylie Howard bucket moments later off a South turnover, made the score 50-42.
Stephens scored all of her 13 points in the second half. Howard led the way with 15 points, while Alexis Montes added 10.
South (1-3) dropped its third straight after a season-opening victory against Brooke. All of its losses have come against undefeated teams (Park, University, John Marshall) with a combined record of 13-0.