Hardwood Heroes

Avery Wagner dominates Parkersburg South with 25- point performance, Waterford wins 50-34.

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Waterford, OHIO (WOUB)-Waterford (12-2) and Parkersburg South (8-5) came into Tuesday’s matchup with losing streaks that guaranteed a change for one squad. Waterford received their second regular season loss to Waynedale on January 13; meanwhile, Parkersburg South entered with a three-game skid against Morgantown, Parkersburg and Wheeling Park. Center Avery Wagner led the Wildcats with 25 points, 17 rebounds and seven blocks to put Waterford past the Patriots, 50-34, despite not having starting guard Laykyn Jones. 



Parkersburg South controlled the opening stages with its 7-2 run as the Patriots’ success came from double-teaming Wagner early, which forced numerous turnovers to push the Wildcats on their heels. The Patriots transition offense ruled the first eight minutes and finished the quarter with a 16-11 lead and shooting 7/11, led by Regan Shockey and Emilee Owens.   


While the Patriots had an impressive start in the first, The Wildcats clawed back with their punishing second-quarter performance as they outscored the Patriots 12-2. The Wildcats perimeter defense stepped up to South’s shooters and forced more shots inside the arc; however, Wagner, 6’4”, stuffed any shot attempted in the paint as Wagner had every block for the Wildcats.    


“We came out kind of flat tonight. In the second quarter, we picked up on the defensive end and that made the offense start flowing, and I think that was a total difference in the game,” Jerry Close said.   


The impact of the defense helped the Wildcats enter the lockers with a 23-18 lead, and the Wildcats stayed in command for the rest of the night. The ball movement improved among Wagner, Kendall Sury and Avery Smithberger, combining for 41 points and 10 assists and the trio of Waterford quickly turned a 5-point lead into a 16-point victory after the second half, but a late game injury to Sury will add more adversity to a bruised Wildcats lineup. 


For Parkersburg South, the fourth-quarter run trimmed the deficit to single digits until the offense struggled to knock down shots, leading to frustration and foul trouble for Parkersburg South. Shockey ended up fouling out with a double technical foul for Parkersburg South after debating with referees over Shockey’s fifth foul. Wagner made every free throw from the technical fouls and quickly erased the Patriots’ comeback. 


Tuesday night’s impressive defensive outing for the Wildcats will look to be replicated on Thursday against the Southern Tornadoes (3-9) despite potentially having two starters out and needing to rely on underclasswomen.  


“We try to get in as many kids we can… as a coach you are hoping that when someone gets a chance that they give their best effort. You just never know how it works out because sometimes you put someone in a position that they are not comfortable in, but I thought they did a very good job handling the pressure that was put on them,” Close said.   


Wagner said that she trusts the younger players, “I feel like they can do a good job stepping into the role,” she said. “It’s important for them to get playing time now so they can help us out later this year with injuries.” 


Parkersburg South’s losing streak increases to four games and will travel back to West Virginia for another road trip to Philip Barbour (9-2) on Thursday.