Reflection occurs later for Meeks

There was no sign of a cake nor candles. Just an impressive trophy to add to the collection of the St. Marys girls basketball program.

Wednesday night inside St. Marys High School, the Blue Devils’ 82-57 win against Gilmer in the Division I championship of the W.Va. Hometown Invitational marked the 100th game for the senior class under coach Howard Meeks.

In addition to a 92-percent winning percentage, Dani Moore, Abbi Fetty and Audra Clark have played a role in consecutive Class A state runner-up finishes in 2010 and 2011.

“What can you say about Audra and our other two seniors,” Meeks said. “Dani Moore has probably taken more chewin’s, but she bounces back, plays hard and gives everything. Abbi is known for softball, but she has really dedicated her game more this year. She has stepped up and handled the ball, and played a different role in terms of providing leadership.”

St. Marys enters the postseason having won 20 or more games for the fourth consecutive season. The Blue Devils’ only loss in 21 games this season occurred the first week in January when Wheeling Central Catholic won 57-53 on St. Marys’ home court.

“Maybe some day when I’m sitting in a rocking chair, I’ll take time to enjoy this,” Meeks said. “I’ve been going through a rough time this season personally as a coach and making decisions. I’ve had to make a lot of decisions at 3 a.m.

“I’ve been put in charge of the St. Marys girls program. If they don’t like it, they will have to get used to it. And we will keep plugging away.”

  • Change in store: High-octane energy may not necessarily reflect an immediate change in the win column, but newly-hired Marietta College football coach Andy Waddle is on the right track in terms of creating a productive environment on campus.

On Dec. 19, the former assistant at Wittenberg University became the 29th coach in the 117-year history for Pioneer football.

“The only way I know to improve a football team is to improve the schemes that we are already running,” Waddle said. “We need to maximize the talent we already have and we need to do that through our workouts. I believe we have quality individuals on our team and we need to improve then physically.”

With one kicker already on the projected roster for the 2013 season, Waddle landed another with Thursday’s commitment of Williamstown senior Garret Butler.

The first-team, all-stater Butler is listed at 6-foot-1 and 186 pounds. Quite a contrast to 5-5, 135-pound Conor Durina (Cardinal Mooney High School), who handled all of the kicking chores for Marietta College last season as a freshman. Durina made 15-of-17 extra points and converted 4-of-10 field goal opportunities – with his longest three-pointer coming from 23 yards out.

“Whether or not Garret will be our starter, it will be nice to have him in a spot as a backup,” Waddle said. “Certainly at the high school level, he was a difference-maker and he can be at the next level.”

Contact Kerry Patrick at kpatrick@newsandsentinel.com