Pine-Richland Too Much for Park

Photo by Paul Krajnyak Wheeling Park’s Jack Stakem drives to the basket during Saturday’s game against Pine-Richland during the Cancer Research Classic at Wheeling Jesuit.

WHEELING — It’s been a long season thus far for the Wheeling Park Patriots.

Pine Richland didn’t make things much better for them on Saturday night.

The Rams used an impressive first half that included 50-percent shooting from behind the 3-point line to build a 46-24 lead. They eventually went on for a 86-39 victory in the finale of the 10th annual Cancer Research Classic at Wheeling Jesuit University’s Alma Grace McDonough Center.

The loss drops Park to 2-5 on the season. It is off until next Saturday when it treks to Parkersburg South.

“We see some skilled teams in (West Virginia), but we don’t see a combination of skill and size like we saw with Pine-Richland,” Park coach Michael Jebbia said. “Our guys fought. For us to score 24 points in the first half against that team was somewhat surprising, but they tightened up some things.

In the first half, the Park hung tough in the first quarter, trailing only 20-12. However, a spurt of 10 in a row in the second by the Rams, which was fueled by Notre Dame football commit Phil Jurkovec and Andrew Petcash, the deficit stretched.

All told, Pine-Richland had three players in double figures in the first half.

Compounding matters for the Patriots was a decisive size disadvantage. Pine-Richland collected a 21-12 edge on the boards in the first half and forced Park into eight turnovers.

“They had a couple of six and eight-point runs in the second quarter when were kind of hanging around to keep it at around nine or 10,” Jebbia said. “I don’t think in 40 years (of Park basketball) that we’ve started three sophomores, but our guys are fighting hard. We’ll just keep plugging away.”

Park was able to stay close thanks to the play of sophomore Jack Stakem. The diminutive point guard had 12 of his team-high 14 points in the first half.

Things didn’t get much better for Park in the second half. The Rams opened the half on a 9-2 run in the first 2:49 of the third.

All told, the Rams outscored Park, 26-6 in the third. They closed the period on an 11-0 run.

The shooting disparity in the third quarter was clear. Pine Richland cashed in 10-of-16 from the floor, while the Patriots made good on just 3-of-17 action shots. For the game, Park netted just 12-of-50 shots and was 0-of-13 from 3-point land.

None of Pine Richland’s starters played in the fourth quarter.

The Rams were led by Petcash’s 20 points. Jurkovec finished with 16 and Andrew Krisofic had 10.

Stakem’s production was complemented by Keondre King’s 10 points.

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