Panthers pull away from Big Blacks


By Paul Boggs - pboggs@civitasmedia.com



Point Pleasant’s Parker Rairden (11) goes up for a shot attempt against Lincoln County’s Kyle Wright (23) during Tuesday night’s boys basketball game at Point Pleasant High School.


Paul Boggs/OVP Sports

POINT PLEASANT, W. Va. — Unfortunately for the Big Blacks, what a difference a week made.

Exactly one week after its last game, and after its last win, Point Pleasant could not maintain the momentum on Tuesday night against the visiting Lincoln County Panthers.

Point Pleasant never led for all but one minute, and saw a 33-28 halftime hole quickly swell into a double-digit deficit for the game’s final 13 minutes and 45 seconds, as the Big Blacks lost 70-46 in a non-league boys basketball tilt.

Tuesday night’s affair was the Big Blacks’ final home game, and it wasn’t exactly one to remember — aside from their pre-game honoring of their season’s “6th-man” Chayston Handley.

Point Pleasant, which a week ago snapped a 13-game losing streak by defeating Shady Spring, couldn’t pick up where it left off.

The Big Blacks trailed 13-12 following the first quarter, but were outscored 40-27 over the middle two periods — and 57-35 over the final three cantos.

The second half saw Point Pleasant get outscored 37-18, including scoring only seven points in the final quarter, as the Panthers pushed their lead to as large as the 70-46 final score.

In the final 9:25, the Big Blacks’ smallest deficit was 51-39, as they trailed by a dozen or more for the final 13:45.

Point played the Panthers tough for the first 17 minutes and 20 seconds, but the Big Blacks were on the wrong end of a 14-2 run over the opening two-and-a-half minutes of the third quarter, including a dozen unanswered by the Panthers to make it 47-30 at the four-and-a-half minute mark.

The Big Blacks, playing against a triangle-and-two defense on their top two scorers, struggled with missed shots on open looks — and unforced turnovers.

Defensively, the Panthers burned Point Pleasant’s zone for nine three-point goals, and often found themselves in the lane — which resulted in putback baskets.

Lincoln County held a 26-16 total field goal advantage.

“It was a real struggle tonight,” said PPHS coach Josh Williams. “They triangle-and-two’d us and took our two best scorers (Doug Workman and Bradley Gibbs) away. Other players have to step up. We didn’t want to do anything special, we just wanted to run our zone offense and not try and overload our kids. Even at halftime, we’re down five, but I told the kids we would have to make shots in the second half. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to string shots together.”

Trailing 53-39 entering the fourth quarter, the only Point Pleasant points were a Trey Tucker field goal with six minutes left, followed by a Parker Rairden three-pointer at the 4:42 mark and a Brandon Henderson bucket with 1:50 to play.

Rairden rained in half of the Big Blacks’ six threes, and added a second-period two-pointer for a team-high 11 points.

But the Big Blacks’ top two scorers — Doug Workman and Bradley Gibbs — finished with a combined 14 points and only three made field goals between them.

Workman made two field goals and five first-quarter free throws for nine points, while Gibbs sank two foul shots in the second stanza — along with a third-quarter trey.

Tucker tallied seven points, Henderson had four, and Trace Derenberger and Matthew Martin made a field goal apiece in the first half.

Jason Sayre — on a second-quarter triple — and Cason Payne — on an old-fashioned three-point play in the third — rounded out the Big Blacks’ points.

“We knew it was going to be tough for Workman and Gibbs to get good looks and we knew they might be few tonight. Other kids needed to step up and unfortunately, we just didn’t knock down those shots to get them (Panthers) out of that (triangle-and-two) defense,” said Williams.

Point Pleasant’s only leads were at 3-2 and 4-2, when Tucker tallied a three and Workman made a free throw.

But Brandon Holley hit a triple to give the Panthers the lead for good (5-4), then broke the game’s first of two ties at 6-6 with his second trifecta.

The Panthers’ largest lead of the first half was 33-23 with 2:05 to play, as Jake Ashley amassed three of his four threes in the second quarter, including on back-to-back possessions.

Nate Spencer had opened the period with a three-ball to make it 16-12, as the Big Blacks battled back for a 19-19 tie, before trailing for the final 21-and-a-half minutes after Kyle Wright’s bucket for Lincoln County.

Ashley added a fourth-quarter three and three third-period twos for a game-high 18 points, while Spencer sank three treys and two deuces towards 16.

Jacob Kirkendoll did the job on the interior for Lincoln County, posting five field goals and 3-of-6 free throws for 13 points.

Kirkendoll and Ashley especially impacted the Big Blacks on the boards.

“Their energy on the backboards really hurt us too,” said Williams. “Plus they shot the ball well. They got good looks against our zone. And we didn’t keep them out of our paint tonight either. We needed to keep them out of our paint and off the boards. We didn’t do either.”

Holley also had 13 points, while Wright made two field goals and Jake Clay and Shane Wells one apiece.

Corey Rusk’s two technical-foul free throws, just 15 seconds into the fourth quarter, made it 55-39.

Lincoln County, which improved to 15-6, completed a season sweep of the Big Blacks — having edged Point Pleasant 63-59 on Jan. 30 inside the Big Sandy Superstore Arena in Huntington.

Point Pleasant plays its final regular-season game tonight (Thursday, Feb. 25) at Wahama — in the annual Mason County rivalry.

“It’s going to be a rivalry game (with Wahama) in a hostile environment,” said Williams. “They are looking forward to playing us, but those games are fun. We’re going to definitely have to have our ‘A’ game to win.”

Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106

Point Pleasant’s Parker Rairden (11) goes up for a shot attempt against Lincoln County’s Kyle Wright (23) during Tuesday night’s boys basketball game at Point Pleasant High School.
http://mydailysentinel.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/web1_2-23-PP-Rairden.jpgPoint Pleasant’s Parker Rairden (11) goes up for a shot attempt against Lincoln County’s Kyle Wright (23) during Tuesday night’s boys basketball game at Point Pleasant High School. Paul Boggs/OVP Sports

By Paul Boggs

pboggs@civitasmedia.com

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