Short-Handed Patriots Trim Parkersburg South
Abernathy Scores Game-High 19 Point
WHEELING — Facing perennial power Parkersburg South is a tall task anytime. Taking on the defending OVAC 5A champions without your star point guard is a monumental challenge.
Wheeling Park, receiving positive contributions from every player who stepped on the floor, was equal to its acid test, disposing of South, 57-49, at the Palace on the Hill Saturday afternoon in a battle of Patriots.
Coach Ryan Young’s tough-minded squad played minus the services of Emily Pavlic. The senior dandy suffered a concussion during a win over Morgantown earlier in the week. Park also lost athletic sophomore guard Asia Robey in the preseason with a torn ACL.
Young, however, has instilled a culture of toughness and a defensive-minded mentality with his Patriots. Those two attributes came up big in the blue-collar win, Park’s third in as many outings.
Park used its full-court pressure to play at a pace not to South’s liking. The Patriots from Woody County, who lost in the state semifinals a year ago, turned it over 20 times, many of the unforced variety, while also misfiring on a myriad of hurried shots.
“We did not turn them over a lot off the press but it did speed up the game to our liking. South took some rushed shots after they broke our press,” Young said. “Our girls must realize that we don’t always need to turn teams over for our press to be effective.
“I also thought we did a nice job of rebounding. South is a big and physical team. It wasn’t a thing of beauty but it is a nice win against a quality program.”
The contest was nip-and-tuck until the waning minutes.
The two big school heavyweights were dead even after one quarter at 12 aside. Park used strong second-quarter efforts from Bella Abernathy and Shanley Woods, along with 10 South turnovers in the frame, to edge out to a 29-27 halftime lead. Woods and Abernathy delivered six and five points, respectively.
Abernathy and NeVaeh Cook each produced five lightings in the third session as the hosts stretched their advantage to 43-38 entering the final chapter.
Park was nursing a precarious 45-42 lead when Abernathy, a dynamic sophomore post, broke loose for five straight Park points, the final two coming at the 3:46 lighting, good for a 50-44 Park upperhand.
Woods delivered a dagger, draining a trey with 2:35 to play before an Abby Snedeker driving layup pushed Park’s lead to 55-47 with 1:52 showing. Senior Abby Jones sealed the deal with a free throw with 36.6 ticks left.
“We had a lot of players step up. Abby (Jones) for one. She did a great job defensively while Bella was a beast all game long,” Young said. “Abby (Snedeker) and Kieran (Johnson) both did a lot of good things while Shanley made some big shots.
“We were hoping to have Emily back today. She means a lot to us. But I am proud of our other girls stepping up. A win like this will help us down the road.”
Abernathy used her strength and finesse inside to pump in a game-high 19 points, 12 coming after intermission. The sweet-shooting Woods was superb support with 16 markers while Snedeker hustled her way to seven points.
“We are still searching to find out who we are. We lost 30 points a game from last year’s team,” Parkersburg South coach Ed Davis said. “We are still finding our way. We have lost to three good teams now (Huntington and Fort Frye).
“When we get some more games under our belt I think we will be fine. We never got into the flow (Saturday). Give Park credit. They did a good job pressuring us.”
Talented junior center Makenna Winans and classmate Erin Williams each tallied 11 points for South.
Park, which visits Brooke Monday, committed 11 turnovers.
At halftime, Park’s 1998-99 state championship team was honored. Dee Davis coached that team to a 21-5 mark.