Crusaderettes headed to Charleston

Photo by Josh Hughes Parkersburg Catholic’s girls’ basketball team celebrates after claiming a Class A Region IV co-final Thursday night.

PARKERSBURG –A game-opening 17-0 Parkersburg Catholic run set in motion a 79-44 win over Tug Valley in a Class A, Region IV co-final matchup on Thursday night.

The streak, which propelled the Crusaderettes to Charleston for the second year in a row, lasted through the first three minutes.

Buckets from Aaliyah Brunny, Madeline Huffman and Leslie Huffman led the charge. It took the Panthers three and a half minutes to get on the scoreboard, and those points came from a pair of Makayla May free throws. Kaylea Baiseden knocked a free throw through to follow May’s previous points, but the game was quickly out of reach.

More action from the Huffman sisters and Jenna Boice led to a second run of the opening quarter. The 9-0 spurt only was stopped by the Panthers’ first field goal of the contest, an Alyssa Newsome three-pointer with 30 seconds remaining.

The rest of the night was similarly dominant for the Crusaderettes, and Leslie Huffman’s 20-point performance was a big part of a larger team effort.

All 13 Crusaderettes saw action.

The playing time everyone saw was a part of coach Marty Vierheller’s game plan to prepare for their impending date with Summers County in the opening round of the West Virginia Class A State Tournament at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

“Well, they (the bench) have grown a lot, and I attribute that to our leadership,” Vieheller said of his bench’s growth. “I’m talking about our veteran leadership. They’re players who have done a great job mentoring, and you know we trust them. We trust them.”

Other notable scoring efforts came via Brunny with 17 tallies and Madeline Huffman with 15 of her own. Those totals set the tone of how this game played out, and Madeline Huffman knew what needed to be done to advance in the upcoming state tournament.

“Well, I think we knew what was on the line,” Huffman said. We really wanted to go after it and get a shot at redemption.”

That redemption for the Crusaderettes comes in the form of their tournament opener against the Summers County Bobcats. The two teams met last year in the first round of the state tournament, and the Bobcats came away with a 67-65 win over a then-undefeated Catholic squad. Of course, PC flexed its muscles when it didn’t know how the seeding for next week’s opening round would play out, so this win made a rematch that much sweeter. Still, Vierheller wanted to stick to his strategy and not look past a Tug Valley team that ends its season at 17-8.

“We wanted to make sure we went out and executed at both ends of the floor,” he said. “I think we did that, and that start was a dream start.”