Prep basketball: Williamstown girls headed to state

WILLIAMSTOWN – Host Williamstown made a first-quarter statement, then made a shambles of Thursday night’s Class A Region IV girls basketball game by halftime en route to a 63-38 besting of Charleston Catholic to earn a spot in next week’s state tournament.

The statement was an emphatic 29-8 first-quarter romp as head coach Fred Sauro had his team’s running offense revved up to go right from the start with the Yellowjackets scoring the game’s initial five points and 18 of the first 22 to lead 18-4 at the 4:36 mark.

Kenzie Smith tallied Williamstown’s first nine points in the contest, then Kathleen Cornell with five and Lauren Amos with four split the next nine, after which Brooke Cieslewski gunned in three straight treys and Sami Rea scored at the quarter buzzer.

”We thought getting off to a real good start would be very, very crucial,” said Sauro, ”because we didn’t want Charleston Catholic to get into their halfcourt sets because they’re pretty good at it.

”I really liked our fast break tonight, and we came out and shot it well to begin with (11-of-16 in the first quarter) to stake us to the big lead, and that helped more than anything, The fast start was what we wanted.”

The second stanza saw the ‘Jackets extend their advantage at one point to 30 at 42-12 with a minute left to pretty much effectively wrap up the win with a unconquerable 42-14 lead at intermission.

But still Williamstown came out and started the second half with an 11-0 run to surge ahead by 39 at 53-14 at 5:06 of the third period, before Samantha Fletcher got hot for Catholic with 12 points in the final five minutes of the quarter to pull her team within 26 points with 1:12 left as the period ended as a 14-14 draw.

Catholic took the fourth quarter 10-7 to finish only 25 points behind on the scoreboard.

Cieslewski netted 15 points on five treys to top the Williamstown (14-9) scoring, followed by Smith, Carley Ellison and Amos with 11 apiece, and Cornell with nine.

For Catholic (9-15), Fletcher led with 16 points, while Simone Assaley added eight.

”We are tickled to death to go back (to the state),” said Sauro, who will take his eighth team to the state tournament in his 28 years at the Yellowjacket girls cage helm with a state title in 2003.

Without the graduated Liz Flowers this season,”a lot of people didn’t give us much of a chance to go back this year,” he said. ”But we have a great bunch of seven seniors, and through good times and some bad times too this season, they’ve really persevered.”