Wheeling Park Girls Win Sectional Title
Patriots score game’s first 17 points
WHEELING — Some days, everything just goes your way.
Wheeling Park has been checking off goals all season long and it added two more Friday night at the Palace on the Hill with an 80-25 mauling of John Marshall to claim the W.Va. Class AAA Region One, Section One title for the first time since 2012.
The Patriots also posted a 3-0 mark this season against the Monarchs.
“This is another goal toward our main goal of getting to Charleston,” Wheeling Park coach Ryan Young said. “We had a team goal of not losing to John Marshall no matter how many times we played them and we were able to check that one off. Hopefully we can check off the next one.
“We have a big one Tuesday. Morgantown is the three-time defending state champs. I don’t care what their record is. They are the top team until someone knocks them off and it is our job to do that if we want to get down there.”
Wheeling Park (17-6) will play host to Morgantown at 7 p.m. Tuesday. The Mohigans won both regular-season contests, but the Patriots prevailed in the OVAC semifinals.
John Marshall will travel to play Section Two champion Buckhannon-Upshur, which beat Morgantown, 45-40, for the title.
If the Monarchs (14-10) have any thoughts of making it to Charleston, they will have to avoid a start like Friday’s.
Park’s Josie Daugherty opened the game with her first of five 3-pointers — four in the first quarter — and the Patriots were off and running.
Emily Pavlic drained a 3-pointer, followed by a steal and basket from Kylie McKennen. After a John Marshall timeout, the Wheeling Park pressure again did the trick, this time with Daugherty stealing a pass and hitting an easy layup.
Pavlic and Daugherty knocked down two more 3-pointers and Wheeling Park found itself up 17-0.
After Ivey Henderson finally got the Monarchs on the board with a free throw five minutes in, Daugherty hit two more 3-pointers and another basket.
At the end of the first quarter, Wheeling Park had forced nine turnovers and held a commanding 27-1 lead.
“I think it was a combination of the intensity we came out with and them being shell-shocked,” Young said. “Once they gathered themselves, the game was pretty much over.”
Shay Straughn scored the Monarchs’ first basket at 6:25 of the second quarter and while the Monarchs played better in the second quarter, it was too big of a hole to climb out of.
Daugherty — who scored a game-high 23 points — connected on her final 3-pointer as the second-quarter buzzer sounded. The ball rattled around the rim, popped up and through the net.
“If you think there is a better player in the state than Daugherty, I think you are crazy,” John Marshall coach Brock Melko said. “That was a mismatch. They outworked us, outhustled us, outcoached us. I think we, not to say this in a bad way, but deserved every second of this.
“Our practice (Thursday) was terrible. We had no effort and no life. No one was focused and no one put in the extra work so we deserved this. We said all day that we were going to erase this game at 8:30. We were playing for home court. We wanted to keep that in perspective.”
McKennen added 13 points and Pavlic had 12 for the Patriots. All but two players scored.
Straughn led John Marshall with 11 points. Wheeling Park won the turnover battle 27-11.