GLEN DALE - The Wheeling Park boys are starting to pick up momentum.
The Patriots invaded John Marshall Fieldhouse on Wednesday night and handed the Monarchs a 65-37 defeat for Park's fifth victory in its last seven outings.
''Generally we've played well in February the last few years,'' Patriots coach Michael Jebbia said. ''This same week last year, we beat Morgantown and South Charleston back-to-back. We knew things were going to be up and down in December with our guys, but they kept battling, kept grinding and just stayed positive. We're sitting in a good position.''
Not only did the victory boost Park to only one game under .500 at 9-10, it also served as the 600th victory in the school's proud history.
''We've had a lot of good players, a lot of good kids'' Jebbia said. ''When the school opened, Sam Andy made basketball very, very important in the first year after the consolidation. We've just carried it on. It's a great tribute to all those kids over the 37-year span.''
It also gives Park an all-time wining percentage of 68 since the Patriots first hit the hardwood for the 1976-77 season.
On the other side of the court, Monarchs coach Bill Storm was mulling over a different percentage.
It was his team's 14 percent shooting in the first half.
''I don't have any answers,'' he said. ''I know we have a four-point quarter every game, and in this one we had a four (point first quarter) and a six (point second quarter). When you can't shoot, you can't get into a press. I just don't have any answers. I was telling the team that two years ago we getting ready to play our fourth straight OVAC Championship. Two years later, we're 3 for 21 from the floor at halftime.''
After jumping out to a 15-4 lead in the first, the Patriots took a 27-10 advantage into the locker room.
The Monarchs (5-12), though, started to build a little momentum in the third when Derek Och, who led JM with 11 points, hit a quick jumper and followed that up with a 3 to cut Park's lead to 13 at 40-27.
However, that would be as close as the hosts would get as the Patriots went on a 25-10 run to end the game.
''We had a little bit of a run in the third quarter,'' Storm said. ''The ball went in the basket. I keep saying, when the ball goes in the basket, good things happen. We just had a hard time hitting good shots. I don't think they're pressure bothered us as much as it did in the first game. We just missed shots.''
That's a tune that has been making the Monarchs ears bleed all season long.
Tanner Filben backed Och with nine points, while Evan Magers finished with seven.
For the Patriots, Ryan Reinbeau finished with a game-high 14 points.
Treton Smith added 12 points, while Zach Phillips chipped in nine points to go along with six rebounds.
As a team, the Patriots blocked seven shots and finished above 50 percent shooting (25 of 46) for the third straight game.