Catholic starts hot, tops Williamstown

RON JOHNSTON The Marietta Times Williamstown’s Mara Rinehart, left, goes up for a shot as Parkersburg Catholic’s Aaliyah Brunny contests during a high school girls basketball game Friday in Williamstown.

WILLIAMSTOWN –Aaliyah Brunny and Madeline Huffman were red hot.

The Parkersburg Catholic High duo combined for 38 points to lead the Crusaderettes to a 61-46 triumph over host Williamstown High in Little Kanawha Conference girls’ basketball action Friday night.

“Our girls tend to play their best when there’s a lot on the line, and that’s certainly the case with Williamstown for sure,” said PCHS head coach Marty Vierheller.

Brunny — who was averaging 18 points per game before tip-off –tallied a game-high 22 points, while Madeline Huffman had 16, one above her average. Leslie Huffman chipped in with eight markers, and Jenna Boice and Emma Gardner netted seven and six, respectively.

“We had a lot of help from a lot of players,” Vierheller said. “I thought Emma played a tremendous game, and Jenna did as well.”

As a team, Catholic (9-1) shot 53 percent from the floor.

“It was a great week of preparation for us,” Vieheller said. “The girls did a great job at practice.”

Williamstown (8-2) was led by Jenna Pridemore’s nine points, all in the second half. Going into the contest, she was averaging a team-high 14 ppg. Mara Rinehart added eight markers, while Taylor Newton and Laykn Joy contributed six apiece. Bethany Arnold grabbed a team-high eight rebounds.

“I give Williamstown a lot of respect,” Vierheller said. “There was no quit in them, and there never will be.”

Brunny and Madeline Huffman did all the scoring for PCHS in the opening period with the former scoring nine points and the latter eight. The Crusaderettes owned a 13-0 advantage before the Yellowjackets got on the scoreboard. The maroon and gold cagers only made two field goals and had five turnovers in the first eight minutes of play.

“I think we came into the game a little bit tight,” said WHS boss Fred Sauro. “For awhile, we couldn’t get into an offense. That’s how good Catholic was defensively.”

At the end of one, Catholic owned a 17-6 lead.

“Even with the quick start, Williamstown’s dangerous,” Vierheller said. “But it was a great start for us, and we used that as a springboard for the rest of the game for sure.”

In the second quarter, Leslie Huffman, Brunny, and Boice each had two buckets as PCHS stretched its lead to 36-20 at halftime.

Early in the third quarter, Williamstown cut it to 13 on a Pridemore triple. The Jackets were more competitive but were still unable to get any closer, and trailed 49-32 at the start of the final period.

“When we started picking up our transition game, we played them fairly even in the second half,” said Sauro, whose Yellowjackets actually outpointed the Crusaderettes, 14-11, in the final eight minutes of action.

Said Vierheller, “There was no point other than the last minute of the game where I really felt comfortable. And that’s a testament to Williamstown.”