Crusaderettes tripped by Blue Devils, 81-6­0

St. Marys’ Jordan Fox (11) splits the defense of Parkersburg Catholic’s Madeline Huffman (3) and Alexis Saunders (13) in the fourth quarter during her team’s 81-60 win over the Crusaderettes Friday at SMHS. Photo by Joe Albright.

ST. MARYS — Jordan Fox had to be assisted off the court in the final seconds of the game.

“I had a really bad calf cramp,” said the 5-foot-7 senior St. Marys guard, who was walking OK after the final buzzer. “It hurt really bad.”

Thing is, before leaving, there was nothing wrong with Fox’s right-shooting hand as she scored 33 points to lead the Blue Devils to an 80-61 triumph over visiting Parkersburg Catholic in girls’ basketball action Thursday night.

Fox’s career-high for a single game was 34 against Magnolia two years ago in the regional.

“I shouldn’t have missed those two foul shots (in the fourth quarter),” Fox said. “Or I would have broke it.”

Howard Meeks said that he didn’t realize Fox, a second team All-State honoree last season, had scored 33 points.

“But I could tell you how many times she left her feet and didn’t box out,” said the veteran SMHS girls head coach, smiling.

Kylee Buzzard added 17 points, while Jenna Nichols chipped in with 13 for the Blue Devils (3-2), who halted a two-game slide.

After winning its first four games, Parkersburg Catholic (4-1) suffered its first setback. The Crusaderettes were paced by freshman point guard Madeline Huffman, who tallied 21 points. Olivia Ullman and Alexis Saunders each chipped in with 13, while Emma Pfeiffer netted nine.

“Our team can’t shoot any more poorly,” said PCHS boss Marty Vierheller, whose team was 20 of 66 from the floor. “I was very disappointed. They were not trying to miss.

“I’m not trying to take anything away from St. Marys at all. We lose a game by 21 points and we miss 20 free-throws (16 of 36) and I don’t know how many layups. Hey, if we’re getting free-throws and layups, we must be doing something right. So, we’ve got another crack at them.”

St. Marys never trailed in the contest, and staked itself to a 30-7 first-quarter advantage. Sparking the offense were Fox, Buzzard and Nichols who combined to score all 30 of the points. Fox finished with 15 points and Buzzard nine in the opening stanza.

“I was really proud of Kylee,” Fox said. “She was hitting her shots early. Actually, everybody was hitting their shots early. It felt really good to come together.”

Added Meeks, “We set the tone early. I thought Buzzard attacked the basket good. That was probably her best game of the year.”

Meanwhile, Catholic struggled from the floor, and didn’t score its first field goal until Pfeiffer drained a three with 1:24 left in the period.

“If we don’t give them the start that we gave them…it wasn’t a matter of so much panic as much as it was I think we were trying to establish some sort of a rythym and we didn’t get there,” Vierheller said. “It seemed like everything they shot went in. We dug ourselves a big hole.”

Early in the second quarter, the Blue Devils stretched their lead to 35-9 on a Buzzard bucket and a Nichols’ trey. Huffman then had a hot hand for the Crusaderettes, scoring nine points in the period.

“For a freshman coming into any environment like this…it’s a tough environment,” Vierheller said. “St. Marys has a good program and this is a tough place to play.

“She’s growing up a lot at that point guard spot, and I give her a lot of credit.”

At halftime, SMHS led 47-24.

Fox scored nine points in third quarter as the Blue Devils maintained the advantage, 64-40.

“She can play, and she’s a good player,” Vierheller said.

Catholic did cut it to 16 (56-40) in the third, but that was it turned out as close as it would get to the Devils.

“I give our girls a lot of credit,” Vierheller said. “They could’ve laid down and died, but this team will never quit. We’re going to do nothing but get better..”

Meeks said that St. Marys had too many turnovers (14).

“Tonight we started out good, but I wasn’t happy with the finish,” the Blue Devils coach said. “When you hold a team to nine, you don’t give them 60. That means we gave up 51 points in three quarters. That’s too many over-20s for me.

“It’s the AAU mentality to get the lead,  and then just play and shoot. We have some issues, but obviously we’re heading in the right direction. Tonight, they gave me a nice Christmas present.”