South within reach of state

PARKERSBURG -By the slimmest of margins, University has had Parkersburg South’s number during two regular season meetings.

The two girls basketball programs hook up at 7 p.m. today at the Rod Oldham Athletic Center in a Class AAA, Region I contest with the winner advancing to next week’s state tournament in Charleston.

In South’s third game of the regular season, University won 49-44 on the Patriots’ home court then completed the series sweep with a 62-59 victory Jan. 10 in Morgantown.

“They’ve both been competitive games and both times we had to come back to get it that close,” South coach Scott Stephens said. “University is just quick in transition. They push the ball really well, and their bigs are really quick getting up and down the floor. Hopefully, we can get back and guard them in transition.”

Parkersburg South (16-7) earned the right to play host to a regional game after handling Wheeling Park 72-44 last Friday night in front of its home crowd. Senior post player Miranda Workman gave one of her finest performances at the varsity level after finishing with 21 points and 16 rebounds.

Contributing to the scoring column were sophomore Keya Bartlett with 25 points and freshman Taryn McCutcheon with 17 points.

“We just played well against Wheeling Park,” Stephens said. “When (Taryn McCutcheon) went down with the ankle injury early, everybody else just stepped up.”

As the Patriots’ point guard, McCutcheon was still nursing the ankle injury and did not practice Saturday nor Monday.

“Taryn is going to go (Tuesday), but we don’t know how well,” Stephens said. “She probably won’t be at full strength.”

University (18-6), on the other hand, missed out on an opportunity to stay within their friendly confines, but lost to Morgantown 51-49 in a Region I, Section 2 championship last week in Morgantown. During the regular season, University had won all three meetings with their cross-town rival.

The Hawks rely heavily on playmaker Mariah Callen. The junior is averaging 20.1 points per game. In the two games with South, she averaged 16.5 points.

“Mariah Callen is an all-state player,” Stephen said. “She runs the show for them very well. She can drive and finish, and also does a good job shooting the ball.”

Stephens also touched on the experience from University’s post players. Kayla Boggs (13.7 ppg), who stands at 5-foot-10, while the 6-1 McKenley Meadows is contributing 5.8 points per contest.

How well South’s young frontline adapts could be the telling tale as as far as the Patriots’ success tonight.

“My freshmen post players have been slow developing – I’ve been a little disappointed with them,” Stephens said. “I thought they would be a little further along. They are a little behind expectations, but they are coming along.”