PCHS rolls to Mary ‘O’ title

Parkersburg Catholic guard Madeline Huffman (31) drives for a basket while being defensed by St. John Central’s Kaylin Nixon (10) Thursday night. Huffman earned MVP honors as Catholic downed St. John 78-40 to claim the 22nd annual Mary “O” Crusaderette Classic. Photo by Mike Morrison.

PARKERSBURG — For the second straight night the Parkersburg Catholic Crusaderettes put on quite an exhibition on both ends of the court.

One night after the host team rolled to an 89-25 win over Wirt County in the opener of the 22nd annual Mary “O” Crusaderette Classic, the Crusadereettes cruised to a 78-40 win over St. John Central to claim their third straight title and their 15th overall in the tourney that began back in 1994.

Sophomore guard Madeline Huffman was honored with the Most Valuable Player of the tourney after scoring 18 points and dishing out nine assists in a little more than two quarters of action in the the win over the Fighting Irish (3-7) that saw Catholic score 31 points in the opening quarter alone.

“I have a lot of respect for St. Johns and they played a heck of a game last night and came back and won so we knew they would be up for the challenge,” said Parkersburg Catholic head coach Marty Vierheller. “Early on they played well but once our tempo started to take over we felt pretty good about our chances.”

The game was very close in the early stages as a Kaylin Nixon bucket three minutes into the game pulled the Irish to within five before the home team kicked things into high gear.

Back-to-back buckets by Madison Ross, both coming with an assist from Huffman, got things started for the white and blue and after an Alyssa Busack deuce, Parkersburg Catholic scored the final 16 points of the quarter to jump out to a 31-8 lead.

The Crusadereettes (8-0) forced eight first quarter turnovers and kept the pressure on in the second period when they out-pointed Central by a 24-12 margin to take a comfortable 55-20 lead into the break.

“I really liked our balance and I thought our execution was great on both ends of the floor,” said Vierheller, as his team eclipsed the 50-point mark by halftime for the second straight night. “I thought both nights we play very solid basketball and I was pleased with our intensity.”

Vierheller allowed his starters to play only about half of the third period before clearing his bench as 14 different girls saw action in the second half.

Huffman was thrilled to be awarded the MVP but was quick to credit her teammates for helping her achieve the honor.

“I think we all played really hard and I am just proud of all my teammates for working as hard as they do every day,” said Huffman, who made good on 9-of-11 field goal attempts in the game. “It means a ton to represent Mary Ostrowski and her family and everything that she did for this program and to come out here and get this win is definitely a big deal for us.”

Vierheller was quite pleased with the way Huffman directed PCHS on both ends of the court.

“Madeline played so hard and plays with so much heart and grit and she is just tough as nails out there,” said Vierheller. “She certainly makes us go and she is what every coach wants in a point guard.”

PC senior guard Olivia Ullman led all scorers with 19 points while a pair of freshman in Aaliyah Brunny and Ross each reached double figures with 15 and 10 points respectively.

Brunny filled out her stat sheet nicely as she contributed seven rebounds, seven assists and seven steals to the Crusader cause.

“Aaliyah (Brunny) is just so athletic and so unselfish…. maybe even too unselfish sometimes,” said Vierheller. “She has learned our system rapidly and she is doing everything that we are asking her to do.”

Leading the way for St. Johns was Nixon with 13, one night after tossing in 38 against Herbert Hoover, while Busack added nine.

Joining Huffman on the all-tournament team were Brunny and Ullman, Nixon and Brooke Palmer of St .John Central, Taylor Carpenter of Herbert Hoover and Emma Wyer of Wirt County, who had a career-high 25 points in the Tigers’ 78-47 consolation setback to the Huskies.