Boys’ Basketball: Patriots Advance To Final

WHEELING – These are the types of games Toddy Goodwin-Rowe had in mind when he came to Wheeling Park this season. Previously attending Linsly, which is ineligible for West Virginia postseason play, the junior Patriots point guard made his playoff debut one to remember.

Goodwin-Rowe knocked down all five of his shots and was 5 of 5 at the free-throw line for 15 points and also had five assists and four rebounds, as Wheeling Park (17-6) pulled away from Parkersburg (8-15) for a 76-58 victory Wednesday night in a W.Va. Class AAA Region One, Section One semifinal at the Palace on the Hill. The Patriots will play host to Parkersburg South at 7 p.m. Friday in the sectional final.

”Parkersburg has a lot of good athletes, but he just made some great decisions for us,” Wheeling Park coach Michael Jebbia said of Goodwin-Rowe. ”The key for him, and we’ve been harping on him for it all year, is just getting on two feet.

”When you drive and get on your two feet you can go up with your floater or you can kick it.”

The Patriots jumped to a 9-2 lead and although Parkersburg rallied to tie the game 10-10, it never went ahead as the home team lead from start to finish. The Big Reds, who trailed 37-24 at halftime, began to bother Park with a half-court trap and cut it to 46-39 before the lights went out – literally.

Parkersburg forced five Wheeling Park turnovers in the third quarter and held a 20-16 edge in points, but the roughly 12-minute stoppage came at an awful time.

”There’s a lot of truth to that, I think,” Big Reds coach Jeff Menillo said. ”But the bottom line is we were down by as many as 17 points and we shouldn’t have let ourselves get in that situation.

”I give our kudos getting it back to either six or four, but Park’s a very athletic team.”

The Patriots didn’t have the luxury of having both their marksmen – Ryan Reinbeau and Trenton Smith – on at the same time during the regular season, but they combined to hit five 3-pointers and score 38 points Wednesday.

”For us to be able to advance to the state tournament, Ryan and Trenton are going to have to hit some tough shots,” Jebbia said. ”We’re always preaching inside-out, but the more Phil (Bledsoe) and Chalmer (Moffett) get touches, the more Ryan and Trenton are going to get perimeter looks and Toddy is going to be able to catch and slash.”

After the lighting issue was corrected, Wheeling Park finished the third quarter with four straight points as Reinbeau netted a deuce on a pretty, left-handed scoop and Goodwin-Rowe hung and banked one in from the right block for a 53-46 lead going to the final eight minutes.

Smith, who finished with 18 points on 6 of 9 accuracy, opened the fourth with his fourth 3-pointer to get the margin back to 10 and following a bucket by the Big Reds’ Jordan Colebank, he found Savion Johnson underneath with a pretty pass to get it back to double-digits.

Ja’Darien Wade (10 rebounds) tallied two of his 11 to cut it to 60-54 with 4:42 left, but the Patriots closed the game on a 16-4 run including eight from Reinbeau, who ended with a game-high 20 points and nine rebounds.

”I think three or four minutes there in the third quarter we went on tilt, but as far as the fourth quarter, I thought we did OK,” Jebbia said. ”I told the kids that just in the last month Parkersburg has beaten South, Huntington and Morgantown, so this wasn’t your typical 1-4 matchup.

”I thought the other key was us going to the zone the last three minutes of the game when we were able to keep (the lead) around 10. We went to a zone and it took them some time to do anything because, for whatever reason they were working us on the offensive boards.”

Bledsoe owned the boards most of the night though, finishing with 18 to go along with eight points. Elijah Bell netted seven points and Moffett came through with six points and six rebounds.

Meanwhile, Colebank and Michael Ramsey paced Parkersburg with 14 points apiece and Levi Hays added 11.

”We had a rocky road all year and finally started playing well at the end,” Menillo said. ”I just wish we could have moved a little quicker to get to this point, but I don’t think there’s a ton of difference between (us and Park).

”We played hard all year and we’ve battled, but we need to be a little bit smarter and handle adversity a little bit better.”