Hamilton downs Catholic for title

Wildcats cap 14-0 campaign

Hamilton’s Madison Spears is pressured by Parkersburg Catholic’s Aaliyah Brunny during the 7/8th grade Wood County Middle School championship tilt Thursday evening at Memorial Fieldhouse. The Wildcats capped off a 14-0 record by rallying past the Crusaderettes, 47-36. Photo by Jay W. Bennett.

PARKERSBURG — Hamilton capped a 14-0 season Thursday evening inside Memorial Fieldhouse as the Wildcats received a combined 15 points in the fourth quarter from Kristen Lowers and Kisten Roberts en route to rallying past turnover-plagued Parkersburg Catholic, 47-36, to win the 7/8th grade Wood County Middle School championship.

The third-seeded Crusaderettes, who finished 10-4 and lost both regular-season games to the Wildcats by 18 points, were thinking upset all night and held a 16-13 advantage at intermission.

Although Hamilton forced nine turnovers in the opening stanza, Parkersburg Catholic bolted out to a quick 7-2 lead. Aaliyah Brunny, who had 13 points, five steals and three assists, opened the scoring with a layup and a 3-pointer. Teammate Madison Ross, who double-doubled with game-highs of 16 points and 10 rebounds, then scored inside from a Jenna Boice feed.

The top-seeded Wildcats responded as Madison Spears scored two of her 11 counters. Lowers followed by knocking down an 18-foot jumper for part of her team-high 14 points and a foul shot by Spears, who had a game-high five assists and collected four steals along with Lowers, tied it at seven entering the second.

A spinning kiss by Brunny made it 9-7, but Rylee Harner, who tallied nine points to go along with nine rebounds and five steals, tied it with a hoop. A putback by Roberts, who scored nine points while getting a game-high seven steals, gave Hamilton its first lead at 11-9.

Catholic pushed ahead 16-11 with the help of two free throws by Ross and one from Sarah Shriner, but a costly turnover — the Crusaderettes’ 17th of the half — gave Hamilton some momentum going into intermission. After inbounding the ball with 6.1 seconds to go, a bad pass resulted in an easy steal by Harner, who fed Spears to slice the deficit to three at the break.

The Crusaderettes, who had 34 turnovers compared to Hamilton’s 17, led 24-22 at 2:09 in the third following a putback by Ross. A third-chance opportunity on the ensuing possession by Hamilton resulted in a tie game after Maggie Sauers scored inside. The Wildcats took the lead into the fourth at 26-24 after Lowers, who grabbed five rebounds, scored on a runner.

Six points from Ross early in the fourth helped the Crusaderettes tie the game at 30-all with 3:28 remaining, but Hamilton responded by ending the affair on a 17-6 spurt. Two foul shots by Lowers 17 seconds later gave the Wildcats the lead for good.

Ross’ offensive rebound and stickback with 1:26 left closed the deficit to three at 37-34, but Roberts immediately answered that with a dagger 3. Mya Barrett’s two free throws with 7.5 ticks to go capped Hamilton’s perfect campaign.

Shriner added two steals while teammate Beth Lowther pulled down seven rebounds for PC, which shot 44.1 percent (15 of 34), but couldn’t overcome its turnovers.

The all-tournament team was comprised of Sauers, Lowers, Roberts, Spears, Boice, Ross, Brunny, Blennerhassett’s Skylar Bosley, the Edison duo of Abby Smith and Makayla Sirk as well as Williamstown teammates Jayla Wiseman and Nakia Bracy.