PARKERSBURG - Parkersburg Catholic's Marty Vierheller is hoping the Mary "O" Tournament "may have come along at a really good time for'' his struggling 1-6 Crusaderette cagers.
The annual girls basketball event at Parkersburg Catholic High School - named in honor of the late Mary Ostrowski, one of the first stars of girls prep hoops in the state - will be played tonight and Friday. Semifinals are set today at 6 p.m. with Herbert Hoover (1-3) versus Buffalo (4-1) and at 7:30 p.m. with the host Crusaderettes opposing Wirt County (2-4) in a matchup of LKC squads.
Vierheller is "still trying to put all the pieces together" for Catholic this season. "We've not been very consistent though. We've played good at times; we've played bad at times. I can't fault the girls - they've played hard. It's just that we haven't been able to take advantage of our opportunities."
He is, however, looking at the Mary "O" Tournament as a possible turn-around point for his team. "The girls are excited about playing in it, have been working hard in practice and, of course, always like to play good at home in front of family and friends," said Vierheller.
But then Catholic too, since a season-opening win at Ritchie County, has dropped six straight to teams all ranked in the pre-season AP poll, as are the Crusaderettes at No. 6 in Class A.
Something brand new this year to honor Ostrowski - who died at 51 in July from an incurable form of blood cancer - at the tournament bearing her name will be two graphics on the PCHS gym floor. They are her own signature, followed by No. 14, her jersey number at Catholic, and are placed in front of the home and visitor seating sections.
Sizing up Wirt, Vierheller noted that "the last time we played Wirt was in the sectional (tournament) last year, and they gave us fits, especially (point guard) Miriam Smith," then a junior.
On Herbert Hoover, who beat host Williamstown in the first round of the Fenton Shootout on Dec. 13, Vierheller said that the Huskies employ a up-tempo style of play similar to that of Fred Sauro's Yellowjackets, which of course is familiar to PC with having to play them twice or more each season.
Vierheller indicated Buffalo, despite the Bison's record, is sort of "the question mark of the tournament."
He compared Buffalo, in some respects, to his present team, because "their coach feels like he's still searching for the right combinations, yet are not that deep."