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Patriots use big fourth to pull away from RCB

by Michael Nutter

SPORTS WRITER

CLARKSBURG -- Despite his players' pleas and a highlight-reel first half by Robert C. Byrd's Migel Lockett, Parkersburg South coach Joe Crislip knew his team's strengths and the Eagles' vulnerability.

Staring at a double-digit deficit in the third quarter, the defending Class AAA champion Patriots rallied behind a 29-point fourth quarter to defeat No. 10 Robert C. Byrd, 72-58, Wednesday at Robert C. Byrd High School.

The victory improved No. 5 Parkersburg South to 4-1, while the Eagles fell to 4-1.

"That was a pretty unbelievable fourth quarter. I don't know how many points we scored, but we got a couple of baskets early and things started going our way," Crislip said. "Our kids we're want to get out (of zone defense) and go man, but I told them to believe in what we were doing and it paid off in the second half."

Lockett had his way with the Parkersburg South defense, connecting on all six of his 3-point attempts in the first half en route to a game-high 28 points.

"He's one of the top three guards in the state," Crislip said. "I don't think there's any question about that. He's quick. If you back off him, he's going to hit the 3 and if you get up on him, he's going around you."

The Patriots had their own unstoppable presence in 6-foot-4 center Ade Baruwa, who scored a team high 25 points and grabbed 10 rebounds against an undersized Eagles' frontcourt for his fourth double-double of the season.

Tied 49-49 in the fourth quarter, Baruwa scored eight points in a 17-4 run, including a two-handed dunk, that finally put Robert C. Byrd away.

"We just went through a major drought in the fourth quarter and panicked a little bit," Robert C. Byrd coach Bill Bennett said. "I told the kids that it's up to us coaches when the shots aren't falling to find them a way of scoring and we didn't do that.

"There were several things that we have offensively that we could've done and we just didn't do a good job of calling those out."

Behind Lockett, the Eagles led by as many as 11 in the first half before Parkersburg South began to methodically chip away at the lead.

Leading 30-27 at halftime, Lockett nailed a 3-pointer at the top of the key to start a 7-0 run that gave Robert C. Byrd a 37-27 lead.

Reserve Derek Full finally gave the Patriots the lead for good, 50-47, with a basket inside and free throw with 6:30 left to play.

"We played with the defending champions for three quarters, but that's not our goal," Bennett said. "We can't be satisfied with that. But I told them if we're going to stub our toe, you'd rather do against this team than a lot of others.

"That's a good basketball team, and they know how to play in these kind of games."

Parkersburg South junior Ryan Dawson, the team's leading scorer entering the game at 16.5 ppg., was held to a season-low seven points -- all in the second half. Dobson and Full each scored 11 for the Patriots, who outrebounded Robert C. Byrd, 36-22.

After committing seven first-half turnovers, Parkersburg South had just four in the second half and shot 60 percent (18 of 30) from the floor.

Matt Bealko added 14 points for the Eagles, and teammate Nick Alex handed out a game-high seven assists.

Sports writer Michael Nutter can be reached at 626-1444 or by e-mail at mnutter@exponent-telegram.com