Wheeling Park heading into final stretch without Saseen

WHEELING, W.Va. — Wheeling Park (12-5) has taken a couple of losses over the past week as the young Patriots try to position themselves for the postseason without one of their veteran players in Luke Saseen.

The lone Wheeling Park senior, who was averaging just under eight points and four rebounds per game, had surgery last week to repair a torn labrum, ending his season and career with the Patriots.

“We’re without him and it does hurt us depth wise,” said head coach Michael Jebbia on High School Sportsline. “He’s an experienced player and keeps us steady out there – he can hit free throws late in the game and kind of keeps us calm.”

With Saseen out, it’s junior Chalmer Moffett (6.4 ppg), sophomores Elijah Bell (6.2 ppg) and Savion Johnson (1.9 ppg) who will all see their minutes increase. Bell and Moffett will both have more significant roles, jumping into the starting lineup depending on the matchup.

“Their minutes went from 15-17, now up 20-22,” Jebbia said. “Johnson will now go from 5-7 minutes to 15 or 16. It’s tough losing (Saseen), but we’re still looking at the positive where we still have regular season games left with an all-underclassman team. We can then look forward to the summer and next season with this group, because we’ll have a lot of experience.”

Overall on the year, the Patriots have been led by junior guard Ryan Reinbeau who is putting up just under 19 points and five rebounds per contest.

“Ryan is a shooter, gets in a rhythm and can get going,” Jebbia said. “He shoots about 47 percent from the floor overall.”

Wheeling Park came into this week with a 12-5 record with key wins on the year over Warren, OH, Parkersburg South, George Washington and Morgantown.

The Patriots head down the final stretch of the season hoping to build the right chemistry with the new makeup of their team. Park was No. 9 overall in last week’s MetroNews Power Index as the Patriots have split with Parkersburg South and have solid early season wins over Warren, OH (67-65), George Washington (77-72) and Morgantown (73-48).

Morgantown, however, avenged that loss to Park with a 76-69 win over the Patriots this past weekend.

“We have played some tougher teams – I would rank it right up there,” Jebbia said. “We have great respect for Morgantown and that has turned into a nice, healthy rivalry since they joined the OVAC. I think Morgantown was working some kinks out early, but I think Morgantown and Wheeling Park both have some of the best sophomores in this part of the region.”

Looking ahead to those sectional and regional matchups, Wheeling Park is grouped with Brooke, Parkersburg and Parkersburg South in sectional play out of Region 1. The other section has John Marshall, Morgantown, Preston and University.

“I think the key for us is just to continue to rebound well with Phil Bledsoe at 6-foot-5 and Chalmer Moffett at 6-foot-4,” Jebbia said. “A lot of AAA teams have good size, but we have two pretty athletic big guys – so we can control the boards on most teams.

“Also, just taking care of the ball and getting good shots each possession (is key),” he continued. “We have a young team and it would be great to be able to get to the state tournament with this group and then be able to return them.”

Boys Basketball Schedule

12/17/13 05:45PM  H  PRESTON  72 54  W
12/18/13 07:30PM  H  UNIVERSITY  69 51  W
12/28/13 02:00PM  A  GEORGE WASHINGTON  77 72  W
12/30/13 07:30PM  A  WARREN LOCAL,OH H.S.  67 65  W
01/03/14 04:30PM  A  SETON LASALLE PA @ WJU  58 62  L
01/08/14 07:30PM  A  JOHN MARSHALL  85 36  W
01/13/14 07:30PM  H  MORGANTOWN  73 48  W
01/17/14 07:30PM  A  PARKERSBURG SOUTH  65 71  L
11  01/23/14 07:30PM  A  UNIVERSITY  71 50  W
12  01/30/14 05:45PM  A  PARKERSBURG  60 56  W
13  01/31/14 07:30PM  H  STEUBENVILLE,OH H.S.  80 47  W
14  02/07/14 07:30PM  H  PARKERSBURG SOUTH  65 63  W
15  02/08/14 07:30PM  H  ZANESVILLE, OH H.S.  69 72  L
16  02/11/14 07:30PM  H  BROOKE  72 52  W
17  02/15/14 03:00PM  A  MORGANTOWN  69 76  L
18  02/18/14 07:30PM  H  JOHN MARSHALL   
19  02/19/14 07:30PM  A  BROOKE   
20  02/21/14 07:30PM  A  MORGANTOWN   
21  02/22/14 07:30PM  H  BROOKE   
22  03/01/14 07:30PM  A  SOUTH CHARLESTON   
 wins: 12   lost: 5   ties: 0

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