PARKERSBURG - One thing is a certainty when opposing teams travel to Parkersburg Catholic to take on the Crusaderettes of head coach Marty Vierheller-defense.
"We preach it (defense)," said Vierheller following Parkersburg Catholic's season opening, 65-37 win over Ritchie County. "If you don't want to play it, you will get real familiar with the bench."
And, the Crusaderettes played a lot of it on Tuesday, coming away with 11 steals and forcing 25 turnovers against their Little Kanawha Conference North Division rivals.
"We still have a long way to go," continued Vierheller. "We are still a work in progress, but the effort is there."
The Rebels (1-1) of head coach Dave McCullough jumped out to a 5-0 lead on a triple by all-LKC first team performer Tristin Toman and a lay-in by Kylie Gump, but those would be the only points of the frame for the guests as Parkerburg Catholic went on a 12-0 run over the final 6:42 of the frame to take the lead for good.
Senior first team (Class A) all-stater Leah Hughes got things rolling for the Columbia blue and white with a pair of free throws and sophomore Alex Schaffer's layup with 3:10 showing on the clock pushed the hosts into the lead for good, 6-5.
Schaffer, who finished with seven points and 14 rebounds, hit a triple and Maddie Roedersheimer tallied the last three points of the period as PC turned the five point deficit into a seven point, 12-5, lead.
Things did not get any better for the blue and gray to open the second quarter as the Crusaderettes went on a 10-5 surge behind a trio of buckets from freshman Reily Sturm and two deuces by Roedersheimer.
Ritchie, which travels to St. Marys on Saturday, kept it close thanks to Toman as the senior standout tallied all 13 of her points during the first 16 minutes of action. However, an ankle sprain in the first 15 seconds of the second half sent the second team (Class AA) all-stater to the sideline where she remained for the rest of the game.
That was all the hosts needed as PC outscored its guests by a 23-6 margin in the third quarter to turn the game into a rout.
Hughes, who topped both teams with six steals, led all scorers with 22 points while Roedersheimer added 14 points and as many rebounds. Sturm chipped in with 10 points off of the Crusaderettes bench.
Toman and Gump paced Ritchie's scoring with 13 points, but the next highest point total of five points was added by senior Amanda Davis.
Parkersburg Catholic returns to action at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at Charleston Catholic.