Madeline Huffman makes PC go, go, go!
Sports teams are a lot like sports cars.
Each requires a number of pieces working in combination with each other to work toward one goal …. Moving.
However, if you don’t have a strong engine you aren’t going anywhere.
Parkersburg Catholic’s girls’ basketball team has about as strong an engine as you can get.
In fact, they have a supercharged version in the form of 5-foot-1 point guard Madeline Huffman.
“I think you are spot on,” said Parkersburg Catholic head coach Marty Vierheller when posed the question. “In terms of point guards, Madeline is clearly one of the most special I have ever coached. She certainly doesn’t crawl or walk … She runs in the footsteps of Maggie Boulder. There are so many parallels between Maggie and Madeline and she certainly does make us go.”
The Crusaderette sophomore is no quit and all hustle 100 percent of the time. By her own admission, she comes in every day and gives it her best effort to try and keep her teammates up to make sure they can perform to the best of their collective abilities.
Even if the Crusaderettes are ahead 27-5 in the first quarter, like they were in their sectional final win over Wahama, Huffman never takes a play off. She had two quick steals on in-bounds passes after made PCHS baskets and recorded a bucket and an assist in the span of about 15 seconds.
Then when teammate Aaliyah Brunny tallied a steal and layup in the closing seconds of the second quarter in the same game, Huffman was the first to great her with a big smile and a pat on the back.
So if this is Huffman when they are comfortably ahead, can you imagine what she is like when they are behind?
Williamstown found out when it had an 8-point lead early in the second quarter of the second meeting between the two schools. Huffman generated four Yellowjacket turnovers in five possessions and converted each takeaway into points to even the score and force Williamstown head coach Fred Sauro into a timeout.
Catholic improved to 13-0 after the contest in large part because of those kinds of instances.
While those two sequences certainly helped feed the Crusaderettes, perhaps nothing shows her selflessness and team-first attitude more than her scoring totals.
Early in the season, the point guard had some big scoring games as her young teammates were getting their feet under them and dealing with the pressures of varsity basketball. However, her scoring totals have gone down as the season progressed while assists, steals, and rebounds have gone up as her new teammates became better acclimated to the environment.
Huffman does whatever her team needs her to do. If it is leading her team in scoring on a particular night so be it, but if it is as the facilitator or being a hoss on defense she can do that too.
“Scoring doesn’t really matter to me,” she said. “You have to have people who will do the little things behind the scenes and that is fine with me. I will do whatever coach V wants me to do.”
“I always remember something my dad told me. He said ‘You know you are tiny and there is going to be another girl and she is going to be three inches taller than you with the same skill set and they will pick her every time. You have to be something special … You have to have more in your package,’ and that has always motivated me to step up and play harder.”
A lesson and attitude certainly not unnoticed by Vierheller, who has seen plenty of great basketball players come through Parkersburg Catholic over the years.
“We take great pride in the tradition we have here in Crusaderette basketball,” said Vierheller. “But I am telling you the culture of our current program changed the day she walked in the door. Our entire culture changed and everyone around her knew it, that is how good she is. And you say ‘Well how can you change it look at all the tradition,’ I am talking about our current culture. The culture we are going to be good enough to contend for state championships again … That is the culture I am talking about.”
Coincidentally, Parkersburg Catholic begins state tournament play at 9 p.m. Thursday against Summers County inside the Charleston Civic Center.
Contact Joe Albright at firstname.lastname@example.org