Wheeling Park Rocks Rival John Marshall

Freshman Roby leads Patriots with 14 points

John Marshall’s Shay Straughn, right, lifts up a shot as Wheeling Park’s Brionna Gray (3) defends during the first quarter Wednesday in Moundsville.

John Marshall’s Shay Straughn, right, lifts up a shot as Wheeling Park’s Brionna Gray (3) defends during the first quarter Wednesday in Moundsville.

MOUNDSVILLE — Wednesday night against John Marshall, Wheeling Park’s pressure defense was working and the shots were falling on the offensive side. And even when they weren’t, it seemed like there was always someone in a blue jersey to grab the rebound for second and third opportunities.

All that adds up to a dominating victory for the Patriots, a lopsided 70-25 thumping of the rival Monarchs inside the John Marshall Fieldhouse.

“We know John Marshall has some good players and right now they are slumping a little bit,” Wheeling Park coach Ryan Young said. “Our kids, we had a good balance of shooting from the outside and attacking the hoop, which is something we have been emphasizing. (Wednesday) a lot of them were going in. When we can do that, we are a pretty good team.

“Laurel Robb was a beast on the offensive boards and I think they had a hard time handling Bella (Abernathy) and Kieran Johnson, Abby Snedeker, kids that are coming in and really busting their butts on the glass. That made a big difference.”

The Patriots (7-3) outrebounded the Monarchs, 27-13. Abernathy and Robb each hauled in six boards.

The Wheeling Park defense has been a load to handle for John Marshall in recent years and Wednesday was no different. The Patriots won the turnover battle,17-7.

Before the Monarchs (1-9) could even get into the scoring column, they were down 12-0. When Anna Blake’s layup at the first-quarter buzzer — John Marshall’s first field goal –went through the hoop, it was 17-4.

Wheeling Park never trailed and once it got a double-digit lead, never surrendered it.

“All year we have let our offense dictate our defense and it is pretty obvious we have to flip that script,” John Marshall coach Brock Melko said. “We are trying to focus on having our defense dictate our offense. There is nothing you can do about missed layups and missed shots, but there is something you can do about giving up 70 points.

“It is disheartening. We aren’t surprised by our lack of scoring, but we can get away with it if we defend. We can’t score 25 and win, but if you give up 70 you can’t beat anyone. We haven’t scored 70 all year. We need more scoring, but that has to come from our defense.”

With key players in seniors Morgan Glass and Kylie McKennan sidelined with injury, Young knows some of the younger players will have to step up to lead Wheeling Park through a brutal stretch.

He had a pair of freshman standouts who did their part against the Monarchs.

Asia Roby scored a game-high 14 points — all in the first half — while Abernathy scored all of her 11 in the second half after missing much of the first with foul trouble.

Senior Brionna Gray reached double figures with 11 points.

“Asia is growing up fast and we have been throwing a lot at her,” Young said. “Each and every game, the more confidence she gets, the better we are. I am really pleased with Asia’s play. A lot of young kids are getting a lot of good minutes. I am happy with all of them.”

Shay Straughn paced the Monarchs with nine points.

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