PCHS moves on

Parkersburg Catholic runs away from Ravenswood in Class AA quarterfinal

Photo by Joe Albright Parkersburg Catholic’s Aaliyah Brunny stares down Ravenswood’s Libby Hall during the second quarter of the Crusaderettes’ 65-22 Class AA state tournament semifinal win over the Devilettes Tuesday inside the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center.

CHARLESTON — Parkersburg Catholic is on a mission.

Robbed of a chance to chase a state championship with beloved point guard Madeline Huffman, the Crusaderettes are chasing a state championship without her. Anyone getting in their way better watch out. Ravenswood became the first team to find all of that out Tuesday evening inside the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center.

“Catholic is tough that is about all you can say. From top to bottom, they have great athletes and great ball players,” Red Devilettes head coach Cara Williams said. “They have a lot of talent on that team, and it is a lot to worry about when you have a young team. We just ran into a buzzsaw this evening.”

Williams was being kind.

Leslie Huffman scored 16 points, three other Crusaderettes finished in double digits, the defense forced 22 turnovers and Catholic shot 47% in the first half on the way to a 65-22 victory.

Relishing the chance to be back at the state tournament, Huffman and company seized the moment from the start of the game.

“It really was important for us to come in and get are momentum jump started,” Huffman said.

“We told the younger girls don’t be nervous, and Jocelynn (Thorn) came out and hit some huge shots.”

Annie Hunt led the Red Devilettes with eight points, while Emily Wratchford scored six more.

However, they and their teammates never recovered after the Crusaderettes raced out to a 16-4 lead after one period of play. Everything became more about putting up a good fight and hoping for some luck. Yet, the good fortune would never surface.

Ravenswood was outscored 37-8 across the second and third quarters. Included in that scoring mass came the bulk of Catholic’s 32 points off turnovers and 18 second chance points. Thorn’s first 3 put the Crusaderettes up by 30, 30-4, early in the second quarter. In a moment of relief, Wratchford finally got the next two points for the Devilettes, but they would go on to get severely beaten on the boards as Catholic turned its attention to Williamstown.

Williams lamented the Devilettes’ inability to stop the Crusaderettes on the boards. We didn’t rebound very well in the first half and that was something we knew we had to do well in order to be in the game,” Williams said.

Yet, her team kept fighting even as Catholic pulled further and further away. The entire group jumping on the ground for loose balls and rebounding much better in the second half. She couldn’t help but smile.

“When you have a deficit like that at halftime that is all you can do is continue to battle and finish the game,” Williams said.

Catholic moves on to an All-Little Kanawha County matchup in a semifinal with the rival Yellowjackets.

Of course, Brunny and company are acutely aware of the hot streak the Yellowjackets bring into the matchup. “Williamstown is a very talented team, but we have prepared for everything, and I think we will just go out and do what we do,” Brunny said.

Yet, she isn’t the only one. Her head coach delivered a heads-up approach of what his group likely faces from their old friend.

“It is obvious that Williamstown has worked extremely hard the past number of weeks and knowing what kind of master motivator and what kind of X’s and O’s coach he is I would not be surprised if he has been working on tempo control, so it is in their back pocket for when they need it,” Catholic boss Marty Vierheller said.

Game time is 1 p.m. Friday.


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