CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Class AAA No. 3 Parkersburg won its 20th game of the season and advanced into Friday’s semifinals with a 68-49 win over No. 6 Martinsburg in the girls basketball quarterfinals on Thursday night.
“I couldn’t be more proud of these youngsters,” said Parkersburg coach Scott Cozzens. “You never know how you’re going to play here, especially after a long time off between the regional final and state tournament.
“I thought we came out with a great intensity today,” he continued. “The bench did a great job – everyone who came in brought intensity. They did the job they needed to do and there was no letdown.”
The Big Reds (20-6) jumped out to the early lead, 21-10, after the first quarter and maintained a comfortable margin throughout.
“I think (the first quarter) was the difference,” Cozzens said. “I think it helped us relax, we were ourselves. We didn’t have that intensity in our regional final game. (The good start) on this stage calmed us down and let us do what we do. If some of those shots don’t go, it’s a whole different games.”
Sophomores Madi Mace and Shaylee Kirby set the tone for the Big Reds as Mace totaled 25 points on 8 of 13 shooting and Kirby added 21 points, going 9 of 18 from the floor.
Prosperity Stitt led Martinsburg (18-8) in the loss, scoring 18 points.
Parkersburg, meanwhile, forced 27 turnovers in the win.
“The pressure got to us a little bit, but I don’t think it bothered us as much as turning the ball over in the half-court,” said Martinsburg coach Kyle Triggs. “And they hit a couple of shots where we were right in their face and they were backbreakers. At times we had opportunities, but their big players made big plays and we didn’t.”
The win for Parkersburg sets up a highly anticipated fourth matchup of the season between the Big Reds and archrival No. 2 Parkersburg South on Friday.
Parkersburg has gone 1-2 against the Patriots this season, including a 68-59 setback in the sectional final.
“There are great rivalries in basketball around the state of West Virginia,” Cozzens said. “If you’ve never been to a PHS-South boys or girls game, it’s ridiculous. It would be nothing to see 2,000 or 3,000 people at a high school basketball game during the regular season.
“I hope that same type of atmosphere will come down here and support both teams,” he continued. “Some of the best basketball in the state has been played in Wood County this year. I would really like to see Wood County evacuate that part of the state and take over the Civic Center (Friday) night.”
Friday’s game against Parkersburg South is set for a 9 p.m. tip-off.