PARKERSBURG -When members of the Parkersburg South girls basketball filled out their goal sheets at the beginning of the season, not one member listed a trip to the state tournament.
In one regard, Patriots coach Scott Stephens felt disappointment that his players would not have higher aspirations.
Now that this same ballclub is only one win away from possibly locking up a berth in Charleston, attitudes are starting to change.
Photo by Jeff Baughan
Parkersburg South's Jenna McAtee grabs a rebound against Parkersburg in a game earlier in the season. South travels to Greenbrier East tonight.
"It would feel amazing to get down to state knowing I helped the team get there and get a chance at a state title," said Jenna McAtee, who was a sophomore on the roster when South reached the Class AAA semifinals two years ago.
Standing in South's path is a Greenbrier East squad which owns a 22-1 record and is ranked No. 2. The Spartans' only loss occurred to South Charleston in the Mountain State Athletic Conference Night of Champions.
Tonight's tip-off in a Region 3 contest between South (14-10) and Greenbrier East is set for 7 p.m. in Lewisburg.
"We'll see if we can't shock the state of West Virginia and get a win," Stephens said.
South entered the postseason riding a seven-game winning streak then made it eight in a row with a 59-45 win over Parkersburg High in the sectional semifinals.
The Patriots then played at George Washington - the same school they had defeated twice in the regular season. A horrid night from the field (10-of-50 for 20 percent) curtailed South's effort and George Washington pulled away for a 56-29 victory.
"We always play with heart, and against George Washington we had no heart," South freshman point guard Keya Bartlett said. "It wasn't a very good feeling coming to practice the next day. We should have played better."
South receives a chance to redeem itself against a Greenbrier East outfit which captured a sectional title by defeating Woodrow Wilson 55-44 last Friday in Oak Hill. Junior Bianca Andre produced 18 points, 10 rebounds and four assists for the Spartans, while sophomore Chaunte McDowell added 17 points. Anna Hammaker, one of three freshmen in the starting lineup, finished with 14 points and five steals.
Greenbrier East also boasts a 6-foot-6 freshman in Cheyenne Hooper.
"The big girl is not that strong on offense, but she catches the ball and distributes it well if you try to double up on her," Stephens said. "We just have to contest their shooters and do things nobody else has been able to do to.
"We need to try to push it in transition and put pressure on the basketball. We're not good at playing the half-court game, so we need to score buckets in transition in order to be in the ballgame."
Several area boys basketball teams are in action at the sectional level tonight.
At Ritchie County High School in Ellenboro, ninth-ranked Parkersburg Catholic (15-7) seeks a third straight win against Williamstown (15-8) in one Class A, Region 1, Section 2 semifinal beginning at 6 p.m. The nightcap features top-ranked St. Marys (20-1) hooking up with Wirt County (7-16).
At Ripley High School, Roane County (12-10) meets Point Pleasant (13-9) in one Class AA, Region 1, Section 2 semifinal followed by Ritchie County (11-11) against Ravenswood (12-10).
In Class AA, Region 1, Section 1 semifinal action, Magnolia (17-4) plays host to Tyler Consolidated at 7 p.m., while at that same time Weir welcomes Oak Glen (3-19) to town.