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PARKERSBURG –The first game of the Bret Rector era is in the books, and it was a romp.
Malaki Sylvia’s 22 points and nine rebounds led the way, as a 66-36 opening-night win over Elkins (0-2) at the Rod Oldham Athletic Center got the season off to a good start. A 12-0 run to begin the 2019-20 season rocked the ROAC crowd, and it was part of a 17-5 first quarter to put the contest out of reach after the first 8 minutes. Five Patriots scored from beyond the arc in the win, but it was an up-tempo pace that created opportunities from the inside. Rector said of the pace that it was part of the team’s goal to be moving a step ahead of the competition.
“I think that starts with our defense and our rebounding,” Rector said of the team’s speed. “That’s what I’ve been trying to get these guys locked into, just that mentality. I think they did a good job. (Elkins) only scored 36 points tonight, so we really did lock in on defense.”
Chances to extend the lead were cashed in on throughout the contest, as the returning Zach Seese also found success with ten points. A 15-4 run to close out the first half featured baskets from Nathan Currey, Sylvia and Dylan Day. At the buzzer, Cam Marks went coast-to-coast to score a layup to push the Patriot led up to 37-14.
The one-sided structure of the game continued well into the third, as tallies from Marks, Seese and a triple from Sylvia ballooned the lead out to its largest point (35 points).
The mentality of the team to keep attacking was a key for them, as Sylvia expressed how excited he was to get back to doing what he loves in front of the Southside crowd.
“With coach Rector coming in, he pretty much said, ‘We’re not going to slow the tempo down’,” Sylvia said. “I think it’s good our team fits that style of play where we can run up and down for dunks and layups, that type of stuff. I think with the return of Zach Seese, we’ve gotten so much bigger. Our team chemistry is through the roof.”
Sylvia had a bit of fun describing how the team fits together, as he capped of a night to remember.
“I might originally be from Northside in middle school, but I fit in,” he jokingly said. “Our team chemistry is really good, and you can see it shows on the court. We shot a lot of layups and got to the free throw line. I need to work on my free throws (4-11). I was struggling tonight, but we’ll work on that tomorrow.”
Rector also had a lot to say about the game and all it took to get to this point, and he voiced his appreciation for this school and the communities surrounding it. His team will be back in action at 7:30 p.m. when they defend homecourt against the visiting Dublin Coffman Shamrocks.
“It’s one-of-a-kind,” Rector said of the crowd at the Rod Oldham Athletic Center. “In West Virginia high school basketball, I don’t think it gets any better than this.”
Contact Josh Hughes at firstname.lastname@example.org