No. 1 Parkersburg smashes Hampshire 81-18
CHARLESTON — In the opening game of its title defense, No. 1 Parkersburg broke No. 8 Hampshire’s will early and broke records late.
The Big Reds (24-1) rewrote the Class AAA record book and restated its place atop the big-school heap as it hammered the Trojans 81-18 in a girls state tournament quarterfinal Wednesday evening at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center.
Parkersburg will await the winner of No. 4 Wheeling Park and No. 5 South Charleston in a semifinal at 5:30 p.m. on Friday. The Patriots and Black Eagles will square off at 11:15 a.m. on Thursday.
All season, the Big Reds flashed relentlessness, length and athleticism in its pressure defense, and those things showed up in spades on Wednesday.
Parkersburg nearly broke the single-game steals record by halftime and shattered the previous mark of 26 (set by Huntington against Logan in 2000 and Parkersburg South against Hampshire in 2014) with 36.
That mark also now stands as the steals record in all classes, besting a mark of 34 set by St. Joseph in a win over Tug Valley in 2014.
The Big Reds also forced 41 Trojan turnovers, breaking the old Class AAA mark of 37 set in the aforementioned games Huntington and Parkersburg South games.
The defensive effort was led by senior Shay-Lee Kirby, who finished with 10 steals, tying the record set by Spring Valley’s Sarah Kelly in 2013.
It all led to Parkersburg smashing the old Class AAA margin of victory record of 40 set in a 57-17 win for Martinsburg over Brooke in 1992.
The new mark of 63 ties the all-classes mark, also set by St. Joseph in a 91-28 win over Midland Trail in 2012.
“We don’t think about records and individual achievements; we’re focused on winning the game,” Parkersburg coach Scott Cozzens said. “If you break down film, our 2-2-1 (press) isn’t like anything you’ve seen. Our second line has to read Shay. Shay has an incredible knack for knowing where to go.
“You can watch us on film and you can come watch us in person, but until your kids get on the floor with this length and athleticism, you don’t know what’s about to happen to you.”
All the numbers led to some fairly impressive individual lines for the Big Reds as well.
Kirby (18 points, 10 steals), Madi Mace (13 points and 11 rebounds) and Aleea Crites (11 points and 11 rebounds) all had double-doubles with Crites finishing just two blocks short of a triple-double with eight.
Bre Wilson added 14 points and six steals with Maggie Richards went for 11 points off the bench.
All that with Parkersburg shooting just 5 of 25 from 3-point range.
The Big Reds held a 53-29 advantage on the glass and scored 48 points off Trojan miscues.
Along the way, 10 players scored for Parkersburg and 11 played double-digit minutes.
Breanna Spring led Hampshire (9-16) with six points.