WHEELING - It's easy to win when two players on your team score more points than every player on the other team combined.
That's exactly what happened at Wheeling Park on Wednesday night as Emily Puskarich and Haley Robb finished with 30 and 26 points, respectively, as the Patriots held off a second-half rally from visiting Parkersburg en route to a 68-51 victory in a West Virginia Class AAA Region One, Section One semifinal.
''They should get that,'' Park coach Dee Davis said of her senior duo. ''That's what their job is. When they work together we're a really strong team.''
Wheeling Park’s Marissa Tucker (5) drives around the guard of Parkersburg’s Nicole Dent (23) during their game Wednesday night.
The Patriots (14-8) came out of the gate red hot and quickly jumped out to a 9-2 lead in the beginning of the first and held a 17-9 advantage by the time the stanza was over.
The first quarter would just be a preview of what Park had in store as it went on a complete terror in the second with a 22-4 run that stretched the margin to 26 points as the teams went into the locker room with the scoreboard reading 39-13.
''We just came out flat,'' Big Reds coach Kenny DeMoss said after the game. ''I just don't know how else to explain it. We dug ourselves a hole and the team got down on themselves. I really challenged them at halftime. Our goal was to cut it in half by the end of the third.''
Brooke Kurucz scored 10 of her 11 points in the third and helped the Big Reds (13-10) use a 25-10 spurt to trim Park's lead to 11 at 49-38.
''That was great,'' DeMoss said. ''It was probably the greatest quarter we played all season. We just ran out of gas.''
Eleven points was as close as Parkersburg got as Puskarich and Robb combined for 18 of Park's 19 fourth quarter points.
''I was surprised with how fast we started,'' Davis said. ''Any team that starts off fast, they're going to slow down. That's when (Parkersburg) started to pick up their game with the defense. I thought ut-oh, but then the fourth quarter came around and we made some adjustments and the kids responded.''
Puskarich and Robb also finished the game with a combined seven 3s, two more than the entire Parkersburg team.
''They're good leaders,'' Davis said. ''They help the team. When we call out plays, they make sure everyone is in their spots. They're real smart about that. They're game smart.
''I think sometimes they get a little tired and still want to push themselves instead of backing off and saying 'hey let's just run the ball a little and rest up.' They just want to go go go. I can't fault them for that. They hustle all the time.''
DeMoss also praised the pair and said, ''I don't know many teams where you have to guard 25 feet from the bucket. Puskarich and Robb, you can't give them an inch.''
Marissa Tucker added eight points for Park.
Imani Ward led the Big Reds with 13 points, while Megan Morrison had 12.