Senior Wes Mitchem scored 22 points to lead the Parkersburg South Patriots to a 65-52 triump over the Fort Frye Cadets in an ESPN Ohio River Classic matchup at Ban Johnson Arena Saturday night.
The Patriots held a distinctive size advantage over the Cadets and took full advantage of it in the second half as they out rebounded Fort Frye 21-12 in the final 16 minutes of play.
Parkersburg South was playing for the third consecutive night as it participated in a Holiday tournament in Maryland the previous two days.
"I told our kids not to have an excuse of being tired and fight through it," said PSHS head coach Mike Fallon. "We didn't play our best ball tonight but at the end our kids finally stepped up."
If the Patriots were tired, it sure didn't show early on as they scored 12 of the game's first 16 points and blocked five Cadet shots in the opening quarter.
After a pair of Cadet free-throws from senior Shon Smith cut the lead in half at 12-6, South got baskets from Cody Monroe and Logan Cox to increase the lead to double digits.
Parkersburg South 65 Fort Frye 52
Fort Frye 9 12 16 15 - 52
Parkersburg South 16 13 16 20 - 65
Fort Frye (2-5)
Carter Kiefer 0-1 0-0 0, Shon Smith 7-21 7-10 24, Caden Brooker 0-1 0-0 0, Jordan Anderson 1-5 1-3 3, Seth Lagraen 4-14 4-4 12, Tyler Norris 0-0 0-0 0, Chandler Lang 6-13 0-0 13, Totals: 18-55 (12-17) 52.
Parkersburg South (6-1)
Tyler Bolen 2-8 4-8 8, Kyle Thompson 0-1 0-0 0, Casey Stoneking 0-0 0-0 0, Cody Monroe 3-4 3-3 9, Doug Dennis 5-17 2-2 13, Logan Lawrentz 0-1 0-0 0, Dylon Rippeto 0-0 0-0 0, Wes Mitchem 8-14 4-4 22, Tyle Berry 0-1 0-0 0, Logan Cox 6-9 0-0 13. Totals: 24-55 (13-17) 65.
Team Totals: Shooting: FF: 18-55 (32.7%), PS: 24-55 (43.6%). Three Point Shooting: FF: 4-19 (21%) (Smith 3, Lang 1). PS: 4-16 (25%) (Mitchem 2, Cox 1, Dennis 1). Rebounding: FF: 26 (Lagraen 9). PS: 35 (Mitchem 9, Bolen 8). Assists: FF: 11 (Smith 5). PS: 8 (Monroe 4). Steals: FF: 9 (Smith 6) PS: 6 (Monroe 2). Turnovers: FF: 13 PS: 18. Team Fouls: FF: 12, PS: 15. Fouled Out: Anderson.
Next Game: Fort Frye: Friday home vs. Buckeye Trail. Parkersburg South: Wednesday, home vs. University.
Chandler Lang connected on a three-pointer as time expired in the opening quarter to trim the deficit to 16-9.
Fort Frye continued its mini run in the second stanza on a trifecta from Smith and an inside score by Lang cut it to 16-14.
Back-to-back scores from Mitchem sparked a 13-2 run that was capped by four consecutive points from Doug Dennis to push the Pats' advantage to 29-16.
Smith got some momentum back on the side of the Cadets with a beautiful driving score, and when Jordan Anderson connected on one-of-two freebies, the teams went to halftime with South in front 29-21.
The much smaller Cadets somehow found a way to hit the boards with South as each team grabbed 14 first-half rebounds.
The Cadets hit on just seven-of 29 first-half shots including two-of-10 from behind the arc.
"We were missing a lot of simple little things," said first-year Cadet head coach Eric Henniger. "We missed a lot of layups, and that came back to cost us."
South appeared on the verge several times of turning the game into a runaway victory, but the pesky Cadets rallied back time and time again to keep within striking distance.
Monroe's bucket with just under three minutes to play in the third gave South a 12- point lead, but the Fort answered with an 8-2 run, including six points from Seth Lagraen to close the lead to 45-39.
"They (Fort Frye) made it very tough on us tonight," said Fallon. "Those kids are well-coached and very disciplined and they deserve a lot of credit tonight."
Four consecutive free-throws by Mitchem pushed the Patriot lead back up to 10 at 51-41, but Smith answered with a pair big treys to close the lead to 53-47.
"Shon (Smith) is just a big time game player," said Henniger of Smith, who poured in a game-high 24 points on the night. "He always seems to step up when we play the really good teams and he did again tonight."
Smith also dished out five assists and came up with six steals in the game, including one on the next Patriot possession that led to him converting one-of two freebies.
When Lagraen grabbed the rebound and put it back in for the score the Cadets had pulled to within three at 53-50 with a little over three minutes to go.
Bolen came up with what might have been the turning play in the game as the senior hit the first of two foul shots and rebounded his own miss to score on an unorthodox three-point play.
From there on the Patriots would take care of things at the charity stripe, connecting on 13-of-17 in the game to finish off the Cadets for their sixth win of the season and third in as many nights.
Joining Mitchem in double figures for South were Dennis and Cox with 13 points apiece.
Lang and Lagraen also reached double figures for the Fort with 13 and 12 markers, respectively.
The loss was the Cadets fifth in seven decisions on the season, while PSHS improved to 6-1 with the win.
South returns to action Wednesday night at home versus University, while the Cadets will host Buckeye Trail on Friday night.