Behind balanced scoring effort, Wheeling Park claims sectional championship with 20-point victory over Morgantown

WHEELING, W.Va. — Wheeling Park possesses two of the more feared offensive players across the state in point guard Lala Woods and wing Alexis Bordas.

When the rest of the Patriots’ roster plays how way it did Friday against Morgantown, Wheeling Park becomes as feared as any team in the state.

The Patriots had four double-figure scorers, scored 30 points on three-pointers and finished with 16 more field goals than turnovers to have their way in a 73-53 victory against the Mohigans that allows WPHS to win Class AAAA Region I, Section 1.

“We got contributions from everybody,” Patriots’ head coach Ryan Young said, “and when we get contributions from just about every player, it really helps.” 

The result keeps Wheeling Park (20-4) at home for a Region I co-final against Preston, while the Mohigans (15-7) will travel to face crosstown rival University with a state tournament spot up for grabs.

Both teams excelled offensively in the opening quarter, which MHS led 11-9 at the 4:35 mark after a running bucket from freshman guard Kayli Kellogg.

Woods made a pair of three-pointers over the final 3 minutes of the opening frame, while teammate Natalie Daugherty added one herself to reach the 1,000-point mark for her career. Four of WPHS’ eight field goals in the opening quarter were from long range, helping stake the Patriots to a 21-15 lead.

A pair of triples from Morgantown’s Sadaya Jones on successive possessions in the second quarter helped the Mohigans hang well within striking distance as they trailed 32-26 following the latter three.

However, Wheeling Park countered with 10 consecutive points to seize control of the matchup for good. That stretch began with two Bordas free throws and the southpaw followed with a trey to make it 37-26. Jillian Huffman then scored from close range and Woods made a triple to up her team’s lead to 16.

“They played a tremendous game tonight and shot lights out. I was giving Ryan a little grief that I don’t want to see him anymore,” Morgantown head coach Doug Goodwin said. “We got off to a good start defensively and got after the boards. We had a moment where the game was tied and didn’t have great possessions and they came down and hit some. That got us out of the rhythm that we started with.”

Wheeling Park, which made seven first-half threes and 16-of-31 shots overall, took a 45-30 lead into halftime.

“Our guards did what they do,” Young said.

Huffman and Daugherty each accounted for a triple in the early stages of the third, with Daugherty’s leaving the Mohigans facing a 56-35 deficit at the time.

However, Kellogg responded with a personal 7-0 run to bring the visitors to within 14, only for the Patriots to finish the third on a 6-2 spurt to enter the fourth with a commanding 62-44 lead.

The Mohigans got no closer than 16 in the final quarter.

“We had good shots in the paint that just didn’t fall for us, but our girls give great energy for four quarters,” Goodwin said. “You can never fault their energy on the floor or the effort that they give.”

Woods scored a team-high 20 points and Bordas added 18 to go with eight rebounds. While Bordas struggled through a 4-for-16 shooting night, she made all eight of her free-throw attempts.

Huffman contributed 15 points and made 7-of-11 shots and Daugherty added 12 points on four treys to go with a game-high eight assists, six of which came in the first half. She also recorded six rebounds.

“That’s a lot of pressure on a kid when they’re going for 1,000 points,” Young said. “To have six assists in the first half, that tells you how selfless she is. She’s always been that way, but she’s grown through the program from freshman year until now. She’s definitely one of our leaders and we’re very confident in her ability to hopefully lead this team to get to where we want to be in a couple weeks.”

WPHS reserve Merritt Dell made 2-of-3 shots and finished with four points and seven rebounds.
“Merritt was phenomenal from an energy standpoint and she blocked several shots,” Young said.

The Patriots had 26 field goals and 10 turnovers, including only three in the first half.

Kellogg led MHS with 20 points and Jones followed with 11, though only two came after halftime.

The Mohigans, who were without standout post player Lily Jordan due to injury, made only 21-of-60 shots in what marked their third straight loss to Wheeling Park in the fourth matchup between the two teams this season. 

Jordan is considered day-to-day.

“We miss that rebounding from her and her presence on the floor,” Goodwin said. “It makes them defend differently.”

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