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Leslie Huffman leads Crusaderettes past Williamstown

Parkersburg Catholic’s Madison Ross shoots over Williamstown’s Aubrey Erwin during the state semifinals Friday in Charleston. (Photo by Joe Albright)

CHARLESTON — Reigning Little Kanawha Conference player of the year Leslie Huffman normally leads Parkersburg Catholic into battle.

She also is the reason the Crusaderettes are playing for a state title.

Huffman poured in 22 points, added 10 assists, eight rebounds and seven steals as Catholic downed Williamstown 69-42 in a Class AA state tournament semifinal Friday inside the Charleston Civic Center.

Nicole Reynolds led the Jackets with 16 points and Sophie Folwell chipped in eight more, but there was little hope of beating their LKC foe considering the way Huffman played.

“Leslie was super glue for us today and she has a whole lot of super glue around her,” Catholic head coach Marty Vierheller said after the victory. Turns out, Huffman had a little extra oomph to bring her group back to the last game of the season.

“We didn’t know what was going to happen,” she said on last season and being unable to finish their quest for a state championship with beloved senior guard Madeline Huffman. “I am super excited to play in the championship even if it isn’t with Madeline. It’d be better with her obviously, but I am glad to be playing with who I am.”

Aaliyah Brunny scored 18 points with five steals and five rebounds, Lainie Ross added 10 more points and the Crusaderettes tallied the first 11 points of the game.

Williamstown calmed down from the initial shock and trailed by just 11 after the one period of play, 22-11, but Catholic put the pedal down again, much like the beginning of the game. This was something the Jackets could not recover from as their opponent stretched the lead to 31-11. Huffman scored five of those points during the run.

Williamstown managed to put together an 11-point spurt, before looking up at the scoreboard and a 36-22 halftime deficit.

Huffman scored seven of her points in the third quarter as the Crusaderettes “decided to get things done,” according to Ross. Leslie’s points along with 11 from Brunny put the ‘Jackets in a 58-33 hole going into the fourth quarter.

“We didn’t answer, and we missed some shots,” Sauro said on what went wrong.

A pair of free throws from Riah Sprouse pulled the Jackets within 24 points with 2 minutes left, but Jocelynn Thorn set the final score by connecting on a 3-point jumper with 29 seconds left in regulation.

Huffman wasn’t needed in the final period, but Brunny a senior gave her teammate huge props for the performance.

“Everyone knows if you have seen her play how big of a player she is and you can put her anywhere and she will do it. She stepped up big today,” Brunny said of Huffman.

The Crusaderettes will meet Wyoming East for the big prize at 12:30 p.m. today.

“They are good at running the fast break,” Sauro said of the Crusaderettes. “You have to stay in front of Huffman. You have to keep Brunny off the boards and you have to rebound because all of them will rebound. And you have to be able to attack them downhill.”

“There’s no shame in losing to them. They’re the odds-on favorite in most people’s eyes.”

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