CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Veteran Martinsburg coach Dave Rogers didn’t pay much attention to Parkersburg South’s 8-16 record ahead of the Bulldogs’ matchup with the Patriots in Wednesday’s Class AAA quarterfinal.
For nearly the entire first half, it was easy to see why as eighth-seeded Parkersburg South stuck right with unbeaten and top seed Martinsburg.
But the Bulldogs regrouped at halftime and outscored the Patriots, 23-4, in the third quarter to take control in a 69-48 victory.
“It’s nice to win. I told these guys the first one here is a tough one to get under your belt — I don’t care who you’re playing,” Rogers said. “For us to win, we had to play well.”
The win sends the Bulldogs (26-0) into a Friday semifinal against the winner of Thursday’s game between Capital and Morgantown.
Parkersburg South had the hot hand early and took a 12-7 lead on the second of Seth Fallon’s three 3-pointers in the opening quarter. A triple by the Patriots’ Alex Woolard broke a 17-all tie and sent the Patriots into the second with a three-point lead.
It was an abonrmal defensive quarter for the Bulldogs, who have allowed more than 50 points just five times all season.
“I told the team, “they can’t shoot like this all game, we just have to grind it out,’” Martinsburg senior Grant Harman said. “I knew for a fact they weren’t going to be able to shoot like that all game.”
The Patriots’ last lead of the contest came on a Brayden Mooney jump shot that made it 24-23 with 3:19 to play in the opening half.
Bulldogs’ guard Qualeke Bush scored six points over the final 2:40 of the half to send MHS into the break with a 31-25 lead.
Ten of Martinsburg’s 14 points in the second quarter came off turnovers.
“They’re number one for a reason,” Parkersburg South coach Mike Fallon said. “We played well in the first half, but what got us was we had five pts in the second quarter and four in the third, and you can’t do that against a really good team like them.
“Defensively, they’re as good as anybody we’ve seen this year. It seemed like whenever he made a sub, the next guy came in and played just as hard defensively.”
The game got away from Parkersburg South during the third quarter, when it made only one field goal and was held scoreless for the final 5:44 of the frame.
Martinsburg scored the final 18 points of the third to turn a 36-29 game into a 25-point lead. Seven different Bulldogs scored in the period, which was capped by Teddy Marshall’s layup.
Eighteen of the Bulldogs’ 23 points in the third were scored in the paint.
“Our energy got way higher and we started getting stops on defense,” Bush said. “That helped us.”
Parkersburg South got as close as 62-47 when Malaki Sylvia made 1-of-2 free throws with 4:40 remaining, but the Patriots never made another field goal.
“Defensively, they cranked it up and got after us,” coach Fallon said.
Bush led the balanced Bulldogs with 15 points, while Marshall and Tre Segar each scored 10. Segar also had a game-high 12 rebounds that helped Martinsburg win the battle on the glass, 41-31.
“This group has been built on defense and rebounding,” Rogers said, “and it continued tonight.”
Fallon scored 15 points, Mooney added 13 and Sylvia contributed 12 in defeat.