First loss for Patriots
PARKERSBURG – Any thoughts of running the table were left by the wayside for the Parkersburg South boys basketball team.
Two weeks after winning at Morgantown, Parkersburg South suffered its first loss of the season to those same Mohigans who were without their head coach.
Behind 20 points and six rebounds from Scottie Core, Morgantown won its third straight game after defeating the Patriots 59-56 Thursday at the Rod Oldham Athletic Center.
Fourth-ranked South drops to 10-1 with a road game upcoming Saturday at Parkersburg High.
“Losing in our home gym is the one thing that really disappoints me,” Parkersburg South coach Mike Fallon said. “Something was weird tonight, but this is not one of those games where you hit the panic button.
“It’s killing me inside because as a coach it crosses your mind that maybe we could have run the table. Maybe now we can exhale and move on.”
On a night when South converted just 48 percent (11-of-23) from the free-throw line, the Patriots still had several chances to either tie or win the game in the late stages.
After Tyler Berry’s baby hook and ensuing free throw completed a three-point play with 3 1/2 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, South trailed 56-54. The difference remained two for South’s next trip downcourt, which resulted in Dylan Rippeto’s 3-point try go in and out of the cylinder.
South trailed the entire second half, but had one last gasp in the final 10 seconds as Cody Monroe’s game-tying 3-point attempt hit the front of the rim just before the buzzer sounded.
“The game should not have come down to that,” Fallon said. “The game should not have come down to one possession. We just didn’t play well. We just didn’t seem ready and as a coach I’ll take all the blame.
“We missed a lot of free throws, but we also missed a lot of defensive assignments.”
South’s Logan Lawrentz made three 3-pointers and finished with 15 points. The same output given by Berry off the bench. Berry also pulled down a team-high six rebounds.
Contributing in the scoring column for Morgantown (5-5) were Steven Solomon with nine points, and Thomas Selby and Shaun Carden with eight points apiece.
Mohigan head coach Tom Yester was serving the second of a four-game suspension. In his absence, assistant coach Denny Crouso steered the ship.
“I’m just keeping the seat warm for coach Yester,” Crouso said. “We have a program that we teach and I’m just trying to keep the car going in the right direction.”
In their previous 10 games, it was a rarity to see the Patriots trailing. Yet, that was the case as Morgantown built an 18-12 lead in the final minute of the first quarter.
JR Kerr then sparked a 10-0 run by South with three assists and a bucket of his own as the Patriots pulled ahead 22-18 midway in the second quarter.
The South advantage remained three in the final two minutes of the period when Morgantown reeled off seven straight points, including three on bench player Tyler Shipley’s only bucket of the game. At halftime, the Mohigans led 30-28.
“We thought that was the worst half of basketball we had played all year, and we were only down two,” Fallon said. “Other than Wheeling Park, that was the first time we were playing from behind after the first quarter.”
Core contributed an assist and a bucket as Morgantown opened the second half with six straight points. The lead ballooned to as many as 10 points at 48-38 on consecutive 3-pointers from Core.
Three free throws from Logan Fryfogle combined with a pair of field goals from Berry whittled the deficit to 52-51 by the 5:47 mark of the fourth quarter. South, though, could not get over the hump as Morgantown kept possessions to a minimum
“We wanted to make them guard us, for a while,” Crouso said. “South is so good on offense, we didn’t want to guard them all night.”