Boys’ Basketball: Wheeling Park Controls Boards vs. George Washington

CHARLESTON – Mike Jebbia was dead set and serious. The Wheeling Park coach did not want to go 0 for Charleston.

He and his Patriots won’t.

Five Park players scored in double figures, the Patriots owned the glass, especially the offensive boards, and made key free throws down the stretch to hold off George Washington 77-72 on Saturday.

It was Wheeling Park’s second trip to Charleston in eight days, after losing to Winfield in the FCA Hoops Classic last week.

“We did not want to make that trip to Vincent-Warren (Ohio) Monday 2-2,” Jebbia said. “We needed this one.”

They got it thanks to a decisive advantage on the glass, most notably with 17 offensive rebounds, led by four each from Phil Bledsoe and Chalmer Moffett.

“This was all about defense and offensive rebounds,” George Washington Rick Greene said. “You can spin it a hundred different ways, but the bottom line is we could not keep them off the offensive glass.”

Park did find itself down by eight, 45-37, but fought back with a 14-4 run to end the third to lead by two, 51-49.

Elijiah Bell was key on that run with a couple of steals that cut the lead in half. And Park got a couple of second-chance opportunities on the offensive end that led to putbacks by Moffett and Bell.

“I thought Chalmer came in and gave us a spark,” Jebbia said of Moffett, who had 13 points and five boards. “He is still playing on a torn PCL (suffered against South Charleston in the football playoffs). He gave us a big lift.”

Down the stretch, Park opened it up, leading by as many as nine, before George Washington, behind Jon Elmore, who had 38 points (including 18 of 20 free throws) made its run.

The homestanding Patriots cut it to three, 74-71, and Elmore had an open look at a 3 that went in and out with 20 seconds left.

Park (3-1) was able to close it out with three free throws, one by Ryan Reinbeau and a pair by Luke Saseen.

Unlike its loss to Winfield last week, at the Civic Center, Park did close this victory out.

“It was night and day difference than when we were down here Dec. 20,” Jebbia said. “It was nice to see the kids close one out, and it was also nice to see them battle back. We got down eight a couple times and we were able to overcome that and then get a lead and hold it. That was good to see.”

Elmore, who was averaging 29 coming into the game, took over at points in the second half (he had 24 in the second half, 18 in the fourth quarter).

However, the Patriots battered the boards and it paid off in the end.

Toddy Goodwin-Rowe led the way with 16 points, Reinbeau had 15 and Bledsoe added 11 points and 10 rebound, his third straight double-double. Saseen had 10 points.

Dominik King had 13 for GW in addition to Elmore’s big game.

Park will be at Vincent-Warren Monday.

“Playing games like this is going to help us,” Jebbia said. “We need to be challenged at this point.

Greene is a believer.

“Park is athletic, they are long and they rebound well,” Greene said. “(Jebbia) does a good job of getting kids into positions where they can make plays, like 33 (Moffett). They have a really good team.”