It wasn’t the hottest of starts for two-time defending champion Parkersburg, but when the Big Reds got it going, they still proved to have more than enough to take another step toward defending its title.
After a bit of a lackadaisical first half, No. 1 Parkersburg (20-5) got rolling in the second, using a 14-0 run to open the third quarter in pulling away from No. 8 Spring Mills 72-38 in a Class AAA girls basketball state tournament quarterfinal on Wednesday evening at the Charleston Coliseum.
With the win, Parkersburg advanced to the semifinals at 5:30 p.m. Friday against the winner of Thursday’s 11:15 a.m. quarterfinal between No. 5 University and No. 4 Cabell Midland.
Spring Mills (11-15) was able to hang around throughout the first half despite 16 turnovers by holding Parkersburg to just 38.7 percent shooting, including 1 of 13 from the 3-point line.
But in the second half, the Big Reds began converting those miscues into points much more efficiently. By the end, the Big Reds had forced 34 turnovers and scored 46 points off those chances.
In last year’s state tournament, the Big Reds opened with a lopsided 81-18 win over Hampshire that set a Class AAA state tournament record for margin of victory. Parkersburg also turned the Trojans over 41 times and registered 36 steals, both of which were also Class AAA state tournament marks.
And while it wasn’t a thing of beauty offensively in the first half on Wednesday, defensively, it was more of the same for Parkersburg.
Aleea Crites led the Big Reds in scoring, going for 18 points to go with 11 rebounds, six steals, four assists and three blocks. Maddi Leggett also reached double figures, scoring 12 points and dishing out six assists.
Jada Brooks finished her career with 16 points and 11 rebounds to lead Spring Mills in both categories.