Wheeling Park Quickly Downs Brooke
Everyone involved for Patriots
WHEELING — One of the priorities for Wheeling Park coach Michael Jebbia during Thursday’s game against Brooke, was to get his whole team involved. With a full substitution in the first quarter, the Patriots were able to do just that and had four players score in double figures in an 89-46 victory over the Bruins at the Palace on the Hill.
“We came out and played 10 guys in the first half and we wanted to get a lot of guys involved,” Jebbia said. “The thing was, we shared the ball and had 21 assists. We were just trying to find the open guy and not be selfish.
”All 12 guys got to play and all 12 contributed. That was the main thing.”
Keondre’ King and Alex Vargo kept playing their game as they have the whole season for the Patriots (8-2). King led the way with 22 points while Vargo netted 21. The two also saw eye-to-eye on the final play of the first half.
Vargo drove to the bucket, but dished it out to King who was wide open in the right corner of the perimeter. He cashed in for a 3-pointer to put the score at 45-23 and extend a 9-0 Park run.
“They’ve been consistant all year and both very efficient. They took good shots and both shot it well,” Jebbia said. “At the very end, Vargo drove it in and found Keondre’ who found a shot going into halftime. It was a nice play.”
The Bruins (0-15) were able to keep it close for the majority of the first quarter. A Jimmy Willis Jr. basket with 2:04 left made it 21-14 ball game, however, the Patriots were able to go on a small spurt to end the quarter as they scored the final five points and the lead did not go below double digits the rest of the way.
Xavier Morris was also able to beat the buzzer as he netted a basket in the final seconds.
“Improvement, yes. But we are not where we want to be. It just goes to show you how far the program was down,” Brooke coach Mel Coleman said. “I can get it where it has to go, but can’t get it done in a year. These kids, last year when they played eight seniors, they didn’t get much playing time. Here we are trying to play a season with guys who didn’t have experience from playing last year.
”That’s kind of hard for them to adapt to the situation. We’ve made improvement, but we’re just so far behind. We didn’t realize we were that far behind.”
Logan Williams led the way for Brooke with 14 points while Willis secured 12 and Alex Lilly had 10.
For the Patriots, De’Vaughn McWhorter and Dustin VanSickle both tallied 10 points to round out the double-figure scorers.
While the record for Wheeling Park looks great on paper, the work behind the scenese shows the patience and hard work it has put in, as the team has had almost five times as many practices as it has games.
“We got a lot of good looks. We didn’t shoot it great from the perimeter, but got a lot of offensive rebounds and second chances,” Jebbia said. “I thought after the first quarter, our defense picked up a bit.
“We moved better. Brooke got some easy baskets early in the first quarter. It’s just since Nov. 12, we’ve had 47 practices and 10 games. It gets tough here. We’re now going to go into a meat grinder of a schedule with 12 games in 25 days.
”It’s going to be a lot of games here because the regular season ends here Feb. 22. So we have 12 games in less than a month. So we have to be ready to go. It’s been a long stretch with 47 practices and 10 games.”
Next up for Brooke is a road game against Morgantown on Tuesday while Wheeling Park will travel to Pakersburg South, a place it hasn’t won since 2015.