Parkersburg Catholic takes care of Williamstown in sectional final

Parkersburg Catholic’s Deborah Hardbarger defends Williamstown’s Jayla Wiseman on her drive to the basket during the Crusaderettes’ 62-32 Class AA Region I, Section 1 championship game win over the Yellowjackets Friday evening at Parkersburg Catholic High School. (Photo by Joe Albright)

PARKERSBURG — Class AA top-ranked Parkersburg Catholic has other capable players outside of its dynamic duo of Aaliyah Brunny and Leslie Huffman.

It is a fact that is easy to forget, but not impossible.

Just in case anyone needed a reminder on Friday night, with Williamstown clamping down on the two all-state players, the rest of the Crusaderettes put all the forgetful people on notice.

Brunny and Huffman combined for 21 points. Six other players poured in the rest. Mary Tokodi-Ruth tallied nine of them, while Jocelynn Thorn and Lainie Ross tallied eight each.

“It wasn’t anything fancy, they just took what the defense gave them,” Catholic head coach Marty Vierheller said.

And it was everyone’s contributions that pushed the Crusaderettes’ winning streak to 42 games with a 62-32 Class AA Region I, Section 2 championship game win over the Yellowjackets.

“All 11 of them are important,” Vierheller said of his team after the game. “Lainie Ross was a huge spark off the bench and I was very pleased with what happened defensively. The girls saw the opportunities that were presented and thought “It is my time to step up.”

That willingness to take charge manifested from the beginning of the game as all but two of the Crusaderettes’ first 15 points came from someone not named Huffman or Brunny. Opening the night of equal opportunity were the first five points of the game from Tokodi-Ruth.

Williamstown’s Nicole Reynolds managed to put the Yellowjackets on the board, but there wasn’t much good news coming for the ‘Jackets afterward. Burying the Yellowjackets in a 15-4 hole were Huffman, Ross and Thorn. Reynolds then made it look a little better with a layup shortly before the first quarter buzzer as her deuce closed the gap to nine points.

Catholic certainly appreciated the home cooking as they used a 7 of 13 shooting performance in pulling out in front after one.

It was not the kind of start Williamstown head coach Fred Sauro wanted to see.

“We thought if we hit some shots early, you saw the easy shots we missed, it could have been a lot closer and maybe we would have kept our energy,” he said.

But that wasn’t the worst news on this night for the visitors. The snowball was just starting to roll.

After Lakyn Joy connected on a bucket with 5:14 left in the second period, Catholic then went on a game-changing run. By the time it was over, Boice, Madison Ross, Tokodi-Ruth, Brunny and Huffman all blitzed the Yellowjackets with a 12-4 streak. Their shooting was still hot, but this time the damage was more from the fact that Williamstown turned the ball over and Catholic got out in transition for easy buckets. And that meant it was off to the races.

With Williamstown only scoring one bucket and the Crusaderettes running at full strength, the opportunity for an upset vanished. Tokodi-Ruth’s quick opening shot in the third period put the Crusaderettes up 53-14 and the only thing left for the ‘Jackets to do was to watch the clock tick down.

Overall, Catholic shot a staggering 50% from the field, while Williamstown hit on just 30% of its shots.

If there was a positive the Yellowjackets could rest their heads on afterward, it was that they held Huffman to the lowest number of points she had scored in two years. It is something they can take with them as they go into their regional-co final game against rival St. Marys.

Meanwhile, Catholic eyes a date with Magnolia. Both games are at 7 p.m. Thursday.

St. Marys 57,

Magnolia 54 (OT)

ST. MARYS — Zoe Davis scored 10 of her team-high 21 points late in the fourth quarter and in overtime to help lift St. Marys past Magnolia 57-54 in a Class AA sectional final Friday.

The Blue Devils (15-3) will face Williamstown at 7 p.m. Thursday in a regional co-final with a trip to the state tournament on the line.

“This is a huge win,” said St. Marys head coach Howie Meeks.

“This was the physical game I knew it would be. You hate to see someone lose, but you’re glad it wasn’t you. Both teams deserved it, we just made a few more points than they did.”

St. Marys trailed 12-9 after a quarter but led 30-29 at halftime. Magnolia then outscored the Blue Devils 16-8 in the third to take a 45-38 lead, but St. Marys used a 13-6 run over the next eight minutes to force overtime. The Devils won the extra session 6-3.

Kylie Wright finished with 17 points and eight rebounds for St. Marys. Lara Fetty added seven points, five assists and four steals.

Mady Winters led all scorers with 22 points for Magnolia, but 20 of those came in the first three quarters as St. Marys limited Winters to just two points in the fourth quarter and OT.

“That was the difference in the game,” Meeks said.

Magnolia, which visits Parkersburg Catholic at 7 p.m. Thursday in a regional co-final, also got 12 points from Lenieca Grimm and nine from Jenna Blain.


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