CHARLESTON — Jefferson fouled Friday night, ending the Cougars’ dream of an undefeated state championship.
Parkersburg South made 30 of 32 free throws, compared to Jefferson’s 10 en route to an 81-62 win in the Class AAAA semifinal at the Charleston Coliseum.
The Cougars were vying for their first appearance in a title game.
Instead, their season ended 23-1.
“A great season,” Jefferson coach Richard Lewis said. “I want them to remember that they had a successful season. This is a historic season at Jefferson High School, the best in 40 years.”
The Cougars just didn’t reach what they hoped would be a final destination.
The Patriots, however, upset Jefferson.
Known for their 3-point prowess, Parkersburg South continually went inside to defeat the Cougars.
Parkersburg South only made three 3-point shots, and two of them didn’t come before the game was well in hand in the second half.
“The game plan was to keep them on the perimeter,” Jefferson’s Will Shively said. “I was surprised that they went inside so often.”
And that helped Parkersburg South hit the foul line with frequency.
“I think they were shooting (free throws) half the time on the field,” Lewis said.
Mike Fallon said his team’s reputation was more of a misnomer.
“We shoot well,” he said, “but 70 percent of our points come in the paint.”
He said the Patriots did exactly what they planned, turning the game somewhat out of order and trying to tear Jefferson to shreds.
“People kept asking me if we could run with them,” Fallon said. “I said, ‘We’re going to run; they must follow us.
“We knew we could go up and down on the pitch.”
Jefferson and Parkersburg South were engaged in a tight first half, but the Patriots started to pull away scoring 10 of the last 12 points in the second quarter.
Jefferson started slow and trailed 7-0, but with Shively making 3 straight points and a layup, Jefferson took the lead.
The Patriots, however, rebounded and relied on an inside game rather than a 3-point shot to take a 20-14 lead after one quarter.
The teams went back and forth in the second quarter with a 3-point Shively putting Jefferson ahead 23-22, but the Patriots outscored Jefferson 15-6 to lead 37-29 at halftime.
Cameron Johnson’s 3-pointer brought Jefferson within five points in the second minute of the third quarter, but the Cougars didn’t get closer.
At the end of the quarter, Jefferson trailed 54-38.
Cyrus Traugh had 19 points at halftime for Parkersburg South and Ashton Mooney 14.
Traugh finished with a career-high 30 points and had 17 of 19 foul shots – the only one to miss one, as three others were perfect from the foul.
After missing 14 free throws in a one-point cup loss a year ago, free throws were a point of attention for Parkersburg South this season.
It surely paid off on Friday.
Mooney finished with 20 points and Jackson Smith 15 for the 22-3mPatriots, who will face Morgantown in tonight’s final.
The Mohigans beat South Charleston 58-42 in the other semi-final.
Jamari Jenkins scored 15 points, Shively 11 and Jaiden Gladney 10.
“We had a good season,” Gladney said.