HUNTINGTON - A scoring run by Huntington St. Joe late in the first quarter during a Class A regional on Thursday night dashed any hopes that Parkersburg Catholic had about upsetting the defending four-time state champion.
Behind 22 points from Mychal Johnson, the Irish defeated the Crusaderettes 73-45 and advanced to the state tournament next week at the Charleston Civic Center.
On Thursday, Parkersburg Catholic fell behind 19-9 after the first eight minutes then slipped further behind at 40-22 by intermission.
"Huntington St. Joe made a good run late in the first quarter and kind of took control," PCHS coach Marty Vierheller said. "We tried to control the tempo a little bit early in the game, but they jumped into a trap and caused us to speed up.
"When they were up by 10 at the end of the first quarter, they did get into some foul trouble but they still were able to control the boards and do their thing at the other end."
Leah Hughes led PCHS with 16 points, while Alex Schaffer pitched in 15 points. Teammate Maddie Roedersheimer pulled down six rebounds and dished out four assists, while Rachel Nill finished with four assists and four steals.
"When you spot Huntington St. Joe 18 at halftime, that is a lot to withstand and overcome, and that is a lot to ask of the girls," Vierheller said.
St. Joe improves to 22-1 after winning its 15th straight game. Since losing 53-48 at Webb (Tenn.) on Dec. 29, the Irish have won every game by double digits.
PCHS, which drew St. Joe after losing to Williamstown in a sectional final, ends the season with a 15-8 record.
"I'm extremely proud of the girls and how they responded - especially after losing in the sectional final," Vierheller said. "A lot of teams and a lot of players would have quit, but our girls showed the kind of mettle they had. And I'm proud of them for that."