CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Class AAA No. 1 Parkersburg had its way from the opening tip Wednesday, cruising past No. 8 Hampshire, 81-18, in a quarterfinal at the Charleston Coliseum & Convention Center.
The Big Reds (24-1) allowed the Trojans’ Gracie Fields to score the game’s opening basket, before reeling off 17 unanswered points to take control of the contest early.
PHS settled for a 21-7 lead after one quarter thanks in large part to a 15-0 advantage in points off turnovers.
That was a sign of things to come, as the Big Reds forced Hampshire (9-16) to turn it over 41 times in all and held a 48-0 advantage in points off turnovers.
“We do what we do, we’re finally all healthy and we’re playing maybe our best basketball at the right time of the year,” PHS coach Scott Cozzens said.
Parkersburg continued to pour it on in the second quarter and scored the first 20 points, before Hampshire managed the last five of the half to enter the break trailing 41-12.
Shay Kirby, who tied a single-game Class AAA state tournament record with 10 steals, had eight points and six steals at the half, while Madi Mace paced the Big Reds with a game-high 11 points.
“Defense is the strongest part of my game and reading each other and playing good chemistry is key,” Kirby said.
Parkersburg outscored Hampshire 25-1 in the third quarter to take a 66-13 lead into the fourth.
“That’s a great Parkersburg team,” Hampshire coach Julieanne Beckley said, “and I don’t foresee anybody beating them or giving them a run for their money.”
Kirby ended with a game-high 18 points, Bre Wilson scored 14 points to go with six steals and Mace added 13 points and six steals.
Aleea Crites and Maggie Richards contributed 11 points apiece to give PHS five double-figure scorers.
Mace and Crites each had 11 rebounds as well, helping the Big Reds dominate the boards, 53-29.
Maddi Leggett had six assists and four steals in the victory.
The 63-point margin of victory was the largest ever in Class AAA state tournament play and tied for the largest in any game at the state tournament.
Parkersburg’s 36 steals were the most by any team in a game in state tournament history.
“We don’t think about records and individual achievements,” Cozzens said. “We’re focused on winning a game. Right now it’s survive and advance and everybody has a puncher’s chance. I reminded them of the Greenbrier East-Huntington game, which came right down to the end.
“We want to respect the game and the other team. We want to play as hard as we can every time out and if we do that the formula so far has been pretty successful.”
Hampshire attempted only 36 shots in defeat and was led by Breanna Spring’s six points.
Ellen Keaton had eight rebounds for the Trojans.