Blue Devils remain unbeaten at 4-0

ST. MARYS -The good intentions from the St. Marys student section of saying its good-byes to the Parkersburg Catholic girls basketball team were almost premature during a game played Thursday night at St. Marys High School.

With just under two minutes left in the first half, the Blue Devils had built their largest lead at 42-19 when the chants began in the stands. The Crusaderettes, however, had other notions and closed to within nine at one juncture in the third quarter before falling 68-48.

A pair of St. Marys players registered double-doubles as Kendra Walker finished with 22 points and 13 rebounds, while Ashley Hall produced 15 points and 10 boards. Perhaps the crowning achievement on the night were the 19 Blue Devil assists, including five apiece from Tari Ashworth and Jordan Fox.

“The same things are happening – we were up 23 and geared it down,” St. Marys coach Howard Meeks said after his second-ranked Blue Devils improved to 4-0 and 3-0 in the North Division of the Little Kanawha Conference. “We got lazy and didn’t talk. We were making undisciplined mistakes.”

With the loss, Parkersburg Catholic dropped to 1-5 and 1-2 in the LKC North. Alex Schaffer led the Crusaderettes with 22 points and 13 rebounds, while Alexis Saunders pitched in 11 points.

“Our kids have too much heart to quit against anybody,” PCHS coach Marty Vierheller said. “I’m proud of the fact that the girls are not hanging their heads about their record. We’re not concerned about our record. We’re about the process; about the journey and getting better every single day.

“Tonight showed what we’re about, but it’s still a work in progress.”

A scary moment interrupted action in the game’s opening minute when St. Marys starting point guard Mikaela Britton fell to the floor holding a bloody nose after running into a hard pick. She exited for the locker room, but would return to the floor in the opening stages of the second quarter. According to coach Meeks, nothing was broken.

As a way to lighten the mood, coach Meeks said to his senior, “I told her way to stop our momentum.”

Trailing 7-0, Parkersburg Catholic answered with 10 consecutive points for its only lead of the night. But during the next 6 1/2 minutes, a lid covered the basket for the Crusaderettes as they made just one shot from the floor during that stretch.

Meanwhile, St. Marys received several impressive impressive contributions. First from Hall, who scored nine points and assisted on another bucket which put the Blue Devils in front 24-13. Next to step up was Fox, who scored six points, including a putback to extend the gap to 32-15.

Walker even threw her name into the ring after hitting back-to-back buckets in the paint as the advantage grew to 36-17. Not to be forgotten was Sara Fetty with a pair of field goals which left PCHS trailing 42-19.

The Crusaderettes didn’t go away quietly and scored the final eight points before halftime. The momentum shift continued in the third quarter as Schaffer knocked down a 3-pointer followed by a pair of free throws from Saunders which sliced the deficit to 42-32.

By the 2 1/2-minute mark, Parkersburg Catholic closed to within 47-38.

“We’re going to have our ups and downs, and I get that,” Vierheller said. “Are we turning the corner, I think so.”

St. Marys maintained a 53-41 advantage at the start of the fourth quarter then ripped off seven straight points as the Crusaderettes committed five turnovers in the first 2 1/2 minutes of the period.

“We saw flashes,” Meeks said. “The 2-2-1 press is the first time I pulled it out of the bag this year and I thought we had a lot of success with it early.”