PARKERSBURG - With visiting Huntington St. Joseph clinging to just a three-point lead over rallying Parkersburg South with only 5:18 to play Saturday afternoon, Rachel Lee and Asia Petitte combined to personally outscore the Patriots 15-4 down the stretch to enable the Irish to notch a 63-49 girls basketball victory at Rod Oldham Athletic Center.
The four-time defending Class A state champions, now 18-1 on the season, led against the No. 7 Class AAA Patriots from early in the second quarter on after a 11-0 spurt, fueled by two treys by Griffin Dempsey followed by another 3-ball and a steal for a layup by Mychal Johnson. That burst snapped a 13-all tie and propelled the No. 1-ranked Irish ahead for good at 24-13, and their advantage was 34-20 at the half.
South, now 14-7, actually got off to a fast start in the game, zooming out to a 7-0 lead on baskets by Kayleigh Rexroad and Miranda Workman and then a trey from Taryn McCutcheon. But St. Joe rallied for a 9-9 tie and the score was still knotted at 11 after one period of play.
With 3:02 remaining in the third quarter, St. Joe was up by 15 at 44-29 when the Patriots began their comeback. Keya Bartlett drilled in two treys sandwiched around her driving into the lane for another hoop for an 8-0 South finish to the quarter to pull the Patriots within seven, 44-37, with eight minutes left in the game.
And South kept right on coming when the fourth quarter began, reducing the spread from five to four and then to three (48-45) on Bartlett's third trey of the contest from straight-away out front with only 5:18 remaining.
But that's when the Irish duo of Lee and Petitte took over the game. First, Lee hit a trey, then another basket to give St. Joe some breathing room at 53-45 with 3:48 to go.
Thirty seconds later, they put together an 8-0 run with two field goals each to stretch out the lead to a commanding 61-47 with just two minutes to play.
St. Joe was led in scoring by Johnson with 18 points, while Lee added 14, Dempsey 13 and Petitte 12. South was paced by a 20-point performance by McCutcheon while Bartlett netted 15 points and Workman eight.
''We started to make a little run at them there in the second half, but we just dug too big a hole in the second quarter and that killed us,'' said South head coach Scott Stephens.
Despite the loss, ''it was a good game to see where we're at going into the sectional (tournament) next week,'' said Stephens, whose team hosts Brooke at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the first round of the sectional.
In the only meeting between the Patriots and the Bruins this season, South totally dominated in a 100-44 win back on Dec. 27 at the ROAC.