Wheeling Park Routs Brooke
WELLSBURG — On back-to-back nights, Wheeling Park stood toe-to-toe with top-ranked teams in the state.
After holding Class AA’s fifth-ranked Sissonville to a season-low 32 points Tuesday, the Patriots went on the road and dominated Class AAA’s ninth-ranked Brooke in a 72-39 victory Wednesday night.
Park’s defense suffocated the Bruins, forcing 21 turnovers and doubled-up the hosts on the boards by a 26-13 count.
“I thought we played pretty well other than in the second quarter,” Park coach Ryan Young said. “We had a little mental lapse there but we recovered in the second half.
“There is always a little concern when you play the night before, especially against a good team but we know we are a deep team, so we weren’t really too worried about being too tired.”
The first quarter belonged to Wheeling Park’s 5-foot-5 junior Emily Pavlic, who poured in 11 points and finished the game with 16 and tied for a team-high six rebounds, while playing shutdown defense.
“She finally broke out a couple of games ago,” Young said. “She has always hustled though. That kid gives 100 percent every time she is on the court. I’m happy she got some buckets to fall.
“People don’t realize that she gets her hands on rebounds, she deflects balls and she sprints the floor. She does everything. Not many kids are going to get rebounds with her size. She is a 100-percent effort kid and she always has been. You never have to tell her to go hard.”
Park opened the game on a 13-0 run with Pavlic netting nine of them including a pair of 3-pointers.
The Patriots led 19-7 after the first and reeled off a 7-0 run to start the second. Brooke responded with a 9-2 run to end the first half and cut the deficit to 30-18.
“We knew they were going to press,” Brooke coach Ryan Scherich said. “At first we didn’t handle it well. We were down 17-2 at one point but we battled all the way back, so I was happy that we could battle back to a respectable margin.”
Brooke’s Hope Bowman grabbed a quick bucket to start the third to trim the lead to 10 before Park went on a 9-0 run to increase its cushion to 39-20.
Bella Abernathy led Park with seven points in the third quarter.
“I told the girls at halftime that we have to match their intensity in the second half,” Scherich said. “(Park) came out and got a couple loose balls, hit a couple 3s and pushed the lead back up to 19 and it all went from there.”
Wheeling Park delivered the finishing touches in the final quarter with a 15-0 run to extend the advantage to 70-36.
Abernathy paced the Patriots offensively with 19 points and six boards, while Kylie McKennen turned in 11 points in victory.
“We are getting closer to reaching our full potential,” Young said. “We still need to take a look at when we’re having breakdowns on defense because we did leave some shooters open at times, but that’s what film is for and that’s what practice is for.
“That’ll be our focus as we move along.”
Aleigha Edgar scored a team-high 13 points for Brooke, while Bowman added 12.