Catholic girls roll over Wirt in Mary ‘O’

STEVE HEMMELGARN The Marietta Times Parkersburg Catholic’s Mikayla Alkire (34) goes up for a basket during a high school girls Mary “O” Crusaderette Classic basketball game against Wirt County Wednesday.

PARKERSBURG — High-flying Parkersburg Catholic flew right into the finals of its annual Mary “O” Crusaderette Classic girls basketball tournament Wednesday night by an 89-25 margin over Wirt County.

The other first-round contest Wednesday saw Bellaire (Ohio) St. John rally back in the second half to overcome Herbert Hoover, 68-63, with Kaylin Nixon pouring in 38 points for the Fighting Irish.

Today’s championship will pit the host Crusaderettes, unbeaten at 7-0, versus 3-6 St. John after the 6 p.m. consolation game between 1-6 Wirt and 1-7 Herbert Hoover.

Catholic got off to a blazing start against Wirt, which had only eight players with several others either sick or injured, as the Crusaderettes jumped out to a 7-0 burst in the initial 1:14 of play before the Tigers scored.

But then another run, this time a 10-0 spurt, upped the count to 17-2 in PCHS’ favor and Catholic finished the first quarter holding a 27-6 advantage.

And Wirt, a LKC rival of Catholic, didn’t fare much better in the second stanza against the hosts, who put up 24 points to the Tigers’ seven for a commanding 51-13 lead by halftime, with PC point guard Madeline Huffman netting 19 points already.

Catholic moved even further ahead in the third quarter as the gap widened to 75-21 before a 14-4 last quarter was won by the Crusaders.

After Huffman’s 23 points came three other double-digit scorers in Emma Pfeiffer with 14 including four treys, Mikayla Alkire with 13 and Jenna Boice with 12.

For Wirt, top point-producers were Sydney Woods and Morgan Wagner with seven each, followed by Emma Wyer with six.

“I was pleased with the way that our kids ignored the scoreboard, and kept working and executed very, very well,” said Catholic head coach Marty Vierheller. “There were several things that we wanted to work on tonight and our kids gave us a chance to do that. And each lineup that we had contributed in their own way and I was pleased with that.”

Vierheller was sensitive about Wirt head coach Mike Hughes’ predicament Wednesday. “I have a lot of respect for Mike, because I knew they were fighting sickness and injury. So just for them being here tonight, they deserve a lot of credit.”