GLEN DALE - Seniors Haley Robb and Emily Puskarich combined for 61 points and Wheeling Park shot with deadly accuracy from the free-throw line in rolling past rival John Marshall, 79-59, as a big crowd looked on Thursday night.
Robb connected for five 3-pointers and was 11 of 12 at the foul line while racking up 32 points. Puskarich followed with 29 points, hitting two 3-pointers and 5 of 6 free throws in sparking the Patriots (9-5).
At the foul line, the torrid-shooting visitors cashed 30 of 36 attempts, including 13 of 15 during the opening half.
Wheeling Park’s Haley Robb (10) shoots while being
guarded by John Marshall’s Sis George (10) during their game Thursday night.
While the point production of Park's dynamic duo made things easy for the visitors, Coach Dee Davis was even more impressed with the unselfish play she saw from both standouts.
''Haley and Emily are looking for each other and passing the ball to each other very well," Davis said.
''I'm very pleased with the way everybody is beginning to play as a unit. They are seeing it, understanding it and they are starting to believe in what we are doing."
While the smiles were evident on the faces of the Park players leaving the locker room, John Marshall coach Mark McCormick was highly disappointed in what has turned out to be a difficult couple of days for his team.
The Monarchs entered the week with a sparkling 10-2 record but dropped back-to-back home games against West Virginia Class AAA ranked rivals Morgantown and Wheeling Park. The margin of Thursday night's defeat clearly upset the second-year head coach.
''You never want to lose to your rival like this," McCormick sighed. ''Coming into the game we knew we had a lot more size underneath than Park. Our game plan was to try and exploit that advantage but we just weren't patient enough on the offensive end."
The Monarchs wound up committing 26 turnovers, 17 in the opening half as the Patriots broke in front early and built a 39-24 advantage at the break.
Some of John Marshall's struggles taking care of the ball could be attributed to health problems of veteran point guard Kristen Lewicki. Hobbled by a knee injury, Lewicki returned to the lineup for the first time in nearly two weeks but did not have the movement she usually brings to the court.
''A healthy Kristen Lewicki is a lot different than the one who is hurt," McCormick said. ''The turnovers and not being patient enough to get the ball inside really hurt us."
John Marshall talented front-courters, senior Kyle Howard and freshman Tori Derrow, did their best to try and keep the Monarchs in the game. Howard scored 27 points and collected eight rebounds while Derrow contributed 13 points and was the game's leading rebounder with 14. Emily Winters also did a nice job inside for John Marshall while scoring 11 points and adding six rebounds.
Park never trailed, jumping in front 3-0 when Robb dropped a three-pointer through the cords less than a minute into the game. Howard countered with a transition layup but the Patriots then went on a 12-2 run to take command.