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Dreams of perfection over: Late 3 falls short as Catholic loses to Trinity, 64-62

Photo by Joe Albright Parkersburg Catholic freshman guard Leslie Huffman, who finished with 24 points, six rebounds and six steals, dribbles against Trinity’s Paige Dixon during the Crusaderettes’ 64-62 loss to the Warriors Saturday afternoon at home.

PARKERSBURG — Madeline Huffman dribbled herself into a good look as Catholic trailed by two points with seconds left in the fourth quarter Saturday inside Parkersburg Catholic High School. Her 3-ball looked good until it clanked off the rim and as the Crusaderettes took their first loss of the regular season in 27 games.

One night after a second-half comeback fell short against Williamstown, Trinity responded by battling with the pre-season No. 2 team in the state all afternoon in a 64-62 win.

Leighton Croft and Davis and Elkins commit Reagan Sharp hit on the front end of double-bonus trips to the foul line in the closing minute to secure the two-point win. The pair’s conversions nullified Jenna Boice’s two free-throw makes to knot things at 62 with 48 seconds left in the game.

Sharp, a third-team all-state selection last season, scored a team-high 21 points, while Croft added 12.

Coach Mike Baldy’s Warriors responded to every Catholic run with a spurt of their own to keep PC trailing for all but a brief lead change in the second quarter. A pair of Lainie Ross charity-stripe tosses put PCHS ahead 21-20 with 3:35 left until halftime.

“I give all the credit in the world to Trinity,” said Catholic head coach Marty Vierheller. “They went out and they did what they had to do to win. Today was more like a boxing match than a basketball game.”

Freshman Leslie Huffman paced Catholic, which has a break until a meeting with Little Kanawha West-foe Ravenswood for a 7:30 p.m. match-up Thursday in the Mary O Crusaderette Classic, with 24 points. She also swiped six balls and pulled down as many boards. Sister Madeline and Aaliyah Brunny also scored in double-digits with 11 and 17 markers respectively.

Brunny dealt with foul trouble for the second straight game. She fouled out of the contest, while Huffman made several uncharacteristic mistakes for a ball-handler of her caliber.

“We knew how good the Huffman girls were coming in but my goodness Aaliyah Brunny is tough and she can almost score at will every time she touches the ball,” said Baldy. “Being able to foul her out in my history of coaching we have had a lot of players in foul trouble and I am not good getting them out of the game so to see them get Brunny fouled out of the game I was proud of them. We made it (fouling Brunny out) a goal at halftime and I think that played into us finishing off the game in the fourth quarter.

Similar to its Thursday win over Notre Dame, Vierheller’s team started slowly as Trinity tallied 7 of the first 9 points of the game on two buckets and a foul shot from forward Kaylie Laskody.

Sharp then took over with four of the Warriors’ next five baskets to set the final first-quarter score at 17-11. Leslie Huffman scored all but four points for the home team in the opening period.

“Any time you get behind to a good team that is not going to help you,” said Vierheller.

Vierheller’s crew got physical in the second quarter. They worked their way into the double-bonus with 3:35 left, but only went to the line twice during the advantageous minutes.

Catholic used six straight Trinity turnovers to pull even with the visitors in the final period but couldn’t answer late. The team missed five of its final six shots from the field.

Those shots came on jumpers as the Warriors made the paint inaccessible or a challenging place to score much of the afternoon. Six blocked shots and many altered attempts resulted from the presence of 6-foot-3 post player Rachel Rosen.

An extra period might have been in the works but Boice missed two free-throw attempts with 1:06 remaining in the contest. She converted four of six in the final 1:23.

Despite a 2-1 mark over the course of Catholic’s toughest stretch of the season, Vierheller wasn’t pleased with the lone blemish.

“This is a game we expected to win,” said Vierheller. “No, I am not happy and I don’t think our girls are either but if we learn from this and get better that is a good thing.”

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