South pulls away from PHS to win sectional title – Parkersburg News

Mar 2, 2024
Parkersburg South’s Triston Walker cuts off a piece of the net following the Patriots’ sectional final win over Parkersburg Friday at Rod Oldham Athletic Center. (Photo by Kerry Patrick)
PARKERSBURG — More than pride was at stake as Parkersburg and Parkersburg South met for the third time this season.
In Friday’s Class AAAA, Region IV sectional final at Rod Oldham Athletic Center, South claimed the series win this year by defeating the Big Reds, 64-48, and securing another home game for a date with Huntington for the right to advance to the state tournament.
South, winners in nine of its last 11 games, improves to 10-13. The Patriots lost to Huntington, 71-65, on Feb. 8 at the Par Mar Shootout on the campus of West Virginia State University.
“When we started the season out, even early when we were 1-9 or whatever, we wanted to play here with a chance at the regional and to go to Charleston,” South coach Mike Fallon said. “Since we played Huntington, we have grown a bunch. We didn’t have Triston (Walker) the last time we played Huntington and that’s a huge factor.”
On the opposite side of the regional bracket, Spring Valley defeated Huntington, 68-55, which means PHS (7-17) must travel to Spring Valley that same night in another regional co-final. Spring Valley defeated the Big Reds, 86-58, on Feb. 6 at the Par Mar Shootout.
Parkersburg South’s Jackson Smith (5) handles the ball as Parkersburg’s Nate Rodriguez defends during Friday’s sectional final at Rod Oldham Athletic Center. (Photo by Kerry Patrick)
“We have to go back to the drawing board a little bit,” PHS coach Phil Wilson said. “Spring Valley is a good basketball team. I just got to get the guys mentally right going into that game. We still have one game to play. We pull the upset, we are going to state.
“No one expected to be here now. Everyone expected to lose the other night (at Hurricane). The fact we are actually here and getting to play with these teams and might have a back door shot in, I can’t complain about that. We had nothing to lose before we even played Hurricane.”
Four players scored in double figures for South, including senior Jackson Smith with a team-high 19 points and six rebounds against a school he never lost to during his high school career.
“This last part of the season we have settled in and just worked well with each other in practices and having people step up,” Smith said. “We have worked well together since that bumpy start.”
Rounding out the leading scorers for the Patriots were Cole Joy with 14 points, six assists and six rebounds; Harry Silvis with 12 points and five assists; and Triston Walker with 11 points.
Parkersburg South’s Conner McMullen (2) guards Parkersburg’s Mason Cyran during Friday’s sectional final at Rod Oldham Athletic Center. (Photo by Kerry Patrick)
For PHS, Matthew Stalnaker set the pace with 20 points and nine rebounds, while Nate Rodriguez added eight points and three assists before being assessed a second technical of the half with 3:45 remaining in regulation and the Big Reds trailing 59-44.
The Big Reds’ starting point guard will have to sit out the Spring Valley game. Officials called a total of five technical fouls, including four against the Big Reds.
“We will be without Nate and we will have to figure that out,” Wilson said. “But if your basketball team is built around one single player and you can’t get the others to come together and figure it out then who were you in the first place.
“If we can get everybody together, who knows what might happen Thursday.”
At the outset, the outcome had the makings of a runaway as South made its first five shots from the floor and led 11-0 three minutes into the first quarter. Smith made one of his five 3-pointers during the run and added a second later in the period as the Patriots expanded the gap to 23-8 with less than a minute still remaining.
South’s Matthew Mullen came off the bench and provided six points to the damage.
When the second quarter commenced, PHS forced the issue inside and created multiple trips to the free throw line. The Big Reds made 11-of-13 free throws during the period and switched to a 1-3-1 zone defensively, which put a wrinkle in the Patriots’ plans as they shot 2-of-11 from the floor. PHS put together a 17-5 run and pulled to within 28-27 on a steal and ensuing layup from Chandler Jackson, who came off the bench and provided six points for the night..
Four straight PHS free throws in the final minute and a half tied the game at 31 going into halftime.
“We kind of went haywire there in the second quarter,” Fallon said. “They went to that 1-3-1 and we settled.”
In the second half and the score still even at 35, Smith knocked down yet another three. Coach Fallon immediately called timeout.
Out of the break, the Patriots applied pressure baseline to baseline and forced PHS into four straight turnovers along with a one-and-done on a missed 3-point attempt. Momentum started to swing toward South. Triston Walker’s bucket off a feed from Smith closed out the third-quarter scoring with the Patriots in front, 43-36.
“Once we started attacking baseline and getting them moving, we could get whatever we wanted,” Fallon said. “About halfway through the second quarter, the two twins (Andrew and Matthew Stalnaker) were hanging on their shorts. Nate was hanging on his shorts. We knew eventually. Then the emotions caught up with them a lot.
“The thing we told our kids was to stay contained and don’t get caught up in that stuff because the last thing you want is to be tossed and not be available for the regional game. I thought our kids did a great job staying composed.”
The surge gained steam in the fourth quarter as sophomore Harry Silvis started to find a groove. Held scoreless for three quarters, coach Fallon chose Silvis to shoot the free throws at the start of the period following a PHS technical at the end of the previous quarter.
Silvis scored nine points as the lead ballooned to 57-38 with just less than six minutes remaining in the game. The end result was a South 19-3 run over a six-minute span.
“Cole Joy is probably a 95% free-throw shooter, but (assistant coach Zac Grossenbacher) said let’s put Harry at the line, let him make a couple to get going,” Fallon said. “Zac said he will nail his next three. And by golly, Harry went to that corner and made the three.”
Both Andrew and Matthew Stalnaker, along with Jayden Walker scored buckets as part of a 6-2 mini-run which was derailed when officials assessed a double-technical followed by yet another PHS technical all on the same deadball and South in front 59-44 at 3:45 still showing on the clock.
South’s offense basically went into a kill-the-clock mode as both teams started to empty their benches.
“During that timeout in the third quarter, coach Fallon basically told us do what we do,” Smith said. “He said that before the game as well that if we rebound and play hard they couldn’t beat us,” Smith said. “These PHS and South games, I’m not really affected by the pressure. I’ve never lost to PHS (in my high school career) and I wasn’t about to let it happen.”
Contact Kerry Patrick at
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