PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — Marty Vierheller is of the belief a team must be ready for anything when facing Fred Sauro’s Williamstown girls basketball squad.
In the second of two regular season meetings between Williamstown and Vierheller’s Parkersburg Catholic team, the Crusaders saw something they hadn’t seen from the Yellowjackets in quite some time — fullcourt pressure defense throughout the contest.
But Parkersburg Catholic has proven to have an answer for just about any opposing game plan this season and Friday was no different, with the Crusaders scoring 20-plus points in three quarters to race past Williamstown, 80-55 for a regular season sweep.
“As is always the case, it’s a chess match when you’re playing against a team coached by coach Sauro. He’s phenomenal,” Vierheller said. “We try to prepare for a little bit of everything, but we weren’t sure whether they would try to show it now or save it for sectionals.
“We were prepared nonetheless. I know at times it looked like we weren’t very prepared and it looked like a mess, but really that was more emotion than anything else. Sometimes we got in just a little bit of a hurry and had the wrong people in the wrong spots. We did sling it around a little bit, but our girls showed tremendous heart and resilience and were able to fight through some stretches when they weren’t playing their best.”
The second quarter was key in allowing the Crusaders (12-1) to create separation. After a high-scoring first quarter concluded with PC leading 23-19, the Yellowjackets (11-3) found offense tough to come by and scored only nine points over the next eight minutes.
With Parkersburg Catholic leading 31-26, Madeline Huffman made consecutive 3-pointers to stretch the lead to 11.
A follow-up basket by Isabelle Erb allowed Williamstown to get back to within nine, but the Crusaders’ Aaliyah Brunny scored the final six points of the half to send Parkersburg Catholic into halftime with a 43-28 lead.
“We’ve played them five or six times and never pressed them, so we figured why not this time and let’s commit to it,” Sauro said. “We committed to it and I thought we did a great job until that spurt there at the end of the second quarter.”
At the break, Huffman and Brunny were each in double figures with 15 and 12 points, respectively.
Each team scored 13 points during the third quarter as the Crusaders’ lead never dropped below 13 and they took a 56-41 advantage into the fourth.
Emma Gardner started the scoring in the final frame with a layup off a Huffman assist, before Brunny followed with consecutive field goals from close range to up the lead to 21.
Brunny added five more points down the stretch to finish with a game-high 23, including 19 over the final three quarters.
Huffman followed with 17 points in the victory, while Leslie Huffman and Paige Stotts scored 11 apiece to give the Crusaders four players in double figures. Gardner added eight points as PC finished with 32 field goals in the victory.
“Our girls work pretty hard,” Vierheller said, “and fundamentally when we’re at our best we’re pretty good.”
Williamstown did not have a double figure scorer and was led by Bethany Arnold’s eight points. Mara Rinehart, Lakyn Joy and Jenna Pridemore followed with seven points apiece in defeat.
The Crusaders beat the Yellowjackets 61-46 back on Jan. 4.