Park’s Defense Proves Too Much for Sissonville in Rout

Indians handed second defeat

Photo by Cody Tomer Wheeling Park’s Kylie McKennen (5) gets around the defense of Sissonville’s Marleigh Bays on Tuesday night.

WHEELING — The Wheeling Park girls’ basketball team may not be the tallest team in the state of West Virginia, but no one can deny the toughness of its defense. It showed Tuesday night against a Sissonville team that had a significant size advantage against the Patriots.

Wheeling Park held the Indians to their lowest point total of the season in a 50-32 victory at Wheeling Park High School.

“We have talked to some people that have played them and we knew they had a lot of good offensive sets against man,” Wheeling Park (15-5) coach Ryan Young said. “With us being smaller and them being a big team, we thought we’d come out and pressure them a little bit, maybe back to a zone and see how they handle it. I thought our kids moved pretty well in the zone.

“We rebounded OK. There was really no reason to get out of it. They were struggling to score. We gotta still continue to work to score ourselves, but we took care of the basketball and when you do that and play good defense, you’re going to give yourself a chance to win.”

Wheeling Park held Sissonville to three points in the third quarter. After going on an 11-0 run to take a commanding 36-17 lead, Laila Arthur hit a 3-pointer to break the Indians’ (12-2) dry spell.

However, an Abby Jones bucket right before the buzzer sparked a small run that went into the fourth and the Patriots lead by 20, 41-21. Sissonville then went on a 7-0 run of its own to cut the lead to 41-28 before Young called a timeout.

The Patriots got his message and scored eight unanswered to take their biggest lead, 49-28.

“That’s probably the first team all year where a team is bigger than us in every position,” Young said, “We knew that one advantage that we did have was speed a little bit. We just tried to mix up the press a little bit. I just think we caused confusion even though it may not have been the amount of turnovers we usually cause.”

Bella Abernathy was the lone Patriot to score in double figures as she netted 10 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to secure a double-double, while adding three steals. Shanley Woods and Emily Pavlic each contributed with eight points while Kylie McKennen secured seven. McKennen and Pavlic also contributed with three steals.

“What I really liked was our guards coming from the top and rebounding,” Young said. “I thought they did a good job of that. Kids like Emily Pavlic, Shanley Woods, Kylie McKennen and Abby Jones all got in there and got some hands on some rebounds and limited them to one shot. When you do that, you’re gonna have a pretty good shot to win.”

Arthur led the way for the Indians with a game-high 17 points, hitting three shots from behind the arc. Wheeling Park also outrebounded Sissonville 28-24.

“We had size at every position on them and our main thing was coming into (Tuesday), ‘So you get trapped. They’re active and quick.’ All you have to do is get solid and pass over the top,” Sissonville coach Rich Skeen said.

“But obviously my girls didn’t believe that. Therefore, it gave us a lot of trouble. It was. It was their defense. We don’t remember running an offense effective at all the whole night.

“You have to give them credit. It was their defense.”