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Catholic girls best Williamstown for sectional title

Photo by Joe Albright Parkersburg Catholic’s Leslie Huffman goes airborne for a shot attempt as Williamstown’s Lakyn Joy looks on during the Crusaderettes’ 62-32 Class AA Region I, Section 1 championship game win over the Yellowjackets Friday evening at Parkersburg Catholic High School.

PARKERSBURG — Class AA top-ranked Parkersburg Catholic has other capable players outside of its dynamic duo of Aaliyah Brunny and Leslie Huffman.

It is a fact that is easy to forget, but not impossible.

Just in case anyone needed a reminder on Friday night, with Williamstown clamping down on the two all-state players, the rest of the Crusaderettes put all the forgetful people on notice.

Brunny and Huffman combined for 21 points. Six other players poured in the rest. Mary Tokodi-Ruth tallied nine of them, while Jocelynn Thorn and Lainie Ross tallied eight each.

“It wasn’t anything fancy, they just took what the defense gave them,” Catholic head coach Marty Vierheller said.

And it was everyone’s contributions that pushed the Crusaderettes’ winning streak to 42 games with a 62-32 Class AA Region I, Section 2 championship game win over the Yellowjackets.

“All 11 of them are important,” Vierheller said of his team after the game. “Lainie Ross was a huge spark off the bench and I was very pleased with what happened defensively.

The girls saw the opportunities that were presented and thought “It is my time to step up.”

That willingness to take charge manifested from the beginning of the game as all but two of the Crusaderettes’ first 15 points came from someone not named Huffman or Brunny. Opening the night of equal opportunity were the first five points of the game from Tokodi-Ruth.

Williamstown’s Nicole Reynolds managed to put the Yellowjackets on the board, but there wasn’t much good news coming for the ‘Jackets afterward. Burying the Yellowjackets in a 15-4 hole were Huffman, Ross and Thorn. Reynolds then made it look a little better with a layup shortly before the first quarter buzzer as her deuce closed the gap to nine points.

Catholic certainly appreciated the home cooking as they used a 7 of 13 shooting performance in pulling out in front after one.

It was not the kind of start Williamstown head coach Fred Sauro wanted to see.

“We thought if we hit some shots early, you saw the easy shots we missed, it could have been a lot closer and maybe we would have kept our energy,” he said.

But that wasn’t the worst news on this night for the visitors. The snowball was just starting to roll.

After Lakyn Joy connected on a bucket with 5:14 left in the second period, Catholic then went on a game-changing run. By the time it was over, Boice, Madison Ross, Tokodi-Ruth, Brunny and Huffman all blitzed the Yellowjackets with a 12-4 streak. Their shooting was still hot, but this time the damage was more from the fact that Williamstown turned the ball over and Catholic got out in transition for easy buckets. And that meant it was off to the races.

With Williamstown only scoring one bucket and the Crusaderettes running at full strength, the opportunity for an upset vanished. Tokodi-Ruth’s quick opening shot in the third period put the Crusaderettes up 53-14 and the only thing left for the ‘Jackets to do was to watch the clock tick down.

Overall, Catholic shot a staggering 50% from the field, while Williamstown hit on just 30% of its shots.

If there was a positive the Yellowjackets could rest their heads on afterward, it was that they held Huffman to the lowest number of points she had scored in two years. It is something they can take with them as they go into their regional-co final game against rival St. Marys.

Meanwhile, Catholic eyes a date with Magnolia. Both games are at 7 p.m. Thursday.

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