St. Marys rallies for overtime win

Downs Catholic, 67-63

St. Marys’ Jenna Nichols shoots a 15-footer during the Blue Devils’ 67-63 come-from-behind overtime win against Parkersburg Catholic Thursday inside PCHS. Nichols scored the last five points of overtime to aid the SMHS cause. Photo by Joe Albright.

PARKERSBURG — Jenna Nichols scored the final five points in overtime and St. Marys completed a 67-63 comeback win against Parkersburg Catholic Thursday night inside PCHS. The senior leader for SMHS head man Howie Meeks finished with a dozen markers and had several key assists for the Blue Devils in the victory.

Nichols found herself with the ball in her hand a lot during the extra session after Jordan Fox fouled out early in the period. Meeks and her communicated a lot during the final four minutes to make sure St. Marys could come out with the win.

“That is what it is all about,” said Nichols, when asked about the communication in OT. “You really just have to listen to your coach … Listen to what he is saying.

“I knew if he trusted me I had to trust myself.”

Trailing 41-39 through three quarters, the visiting Blue Devils (11-5) were powered by the seniors Fox, Whitney Jemison and Nichols in the final period.

Catholic’s Alexis Saunders, who played the fourth quarter and overtime period with a broken finger in her shooting hand, increased the visitor’s deficit to seven after she drained a tough two and then hit back-to-back 3s. Jemison got the lead down to five the next trip down the court. Fox then sent through two of her game-high five 3s to give the visitors the lead, 50-49, with 3:40 left to play.

In an heroic effort, the PCHS senior finished with 17 points and nine boards.

Fox and Jemison both finished in double-digits for Meeks. Fox poured in a game-high 31 points while Jemison scored 12 points. Jemison just missed out on a double-double after she snared nine boards. Fox corralled six rebounds.

Jemison earned high praise from her head coach after the game.

“This was one of her best games,” said Meeks. “She has been battling a little bit of cold and I have been telling her its about heart. I know she wasn’t feeling good and she gave me more minutes tonight than she probably could. Whitney started working on a mismatch with Mikayla Alkire out in the last half of the game.

Our prayers go out to Alkire and her family. (Emma) Gardner really made her work for things but she kept her head up and keeps improving.”

In addition to making life difficult down on the block for Jemison, Gardner was a force on the glass for head man Marty Vierheller. The freshman pulled down a game-high 14 boards. She also had 10 points for a double-double.

The lead then changed hands four times in a little more than a minute and a half. Saunders hit a deuce with 2:04 left to give Catholic some breathing room, 55-52. Yet, St. Marys and Fox battled back to knot things up at 56 all with 30 seconds left.

The ensuing PCHS inbounds pass was stolen by Nichols and St. Marys held the ball for the final shot.

However, Bethany Morrison’s shot missed the mark to end regulation.

Olivia Ullman snagged the advantage for the home team 18 seconds into the four-minute extra period. The junior connected from downtown before the Crusaderettes (8-8) went on a two minute scoring drought. Fox cut into the lead with a pair of charity stripe tosses. The senior then assisted Jemison on a bucket down on the block to give St. Marys the lead for good at 60-59.

Ullman scored 24 points on the night to lead PCHS.

Both teams will be back in action Saturday. Catholic takes on Ritchie County in Ellenboro, while St. Marys plays host to Valley in the third round of the West Virginia Hometown Invitational at 3:45 p.m.