PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — Top seed Parkersburg Catholic took Williamstown’s best shot and overcame a late four-point deficit for a 64-60 victory Friday that gave the Crusaderettes the Class A Region IV, Section 2 championship on their home court.
“I think there were a few people, not our faithful, but a few that thought this wasn’t going to be Catholic’s night,” PC coach Marty Vierheller said. “Our girls just had a will to win. We made a couple more plays than Williamstown did and that’s really all it boiled down to.
“My hats off to Williamstown. (Coach) Fred (Sauro) had a fantastic game plan and they executed it well. But we just made a couple of plays down the stretch that made the difference and our girls had no fear.”
When Nicole Reynolds made 1-of-2 free throws with 1:46 to play, the Yellowjackets (18-5) held a 56-52 lead.
But Parkersburg Catholic (21-1) evened the game in a matter of 23 seconds as Emma Gardner scored inside, before a steal put Madline Huffman at the free throw line, and she made both attempts to tie it at 56 with 1:23 left.
Aaliyah Brunny made a leaner with 58 seconds remaining to give PC a two-point lead, but Williamstown pulled even on a pair of free throws from Mara Rinehart with 46 seconds on the clock.
With the game tied at 60, PC’s Leslie Huffman broke the defense down off the dribble, before passing to Jenna Boice, who made an open shot from close range to give her team a 62-60 lead with 18 seconds to play.
“Any of our girls are capable,” Vierheller said. “It doesn’t have to be our three leading scorers and that’s what Jenna brought today.”
After a Yellowjackets’ timeout with 6.9 seconds left, Brunny stole the ball from Reynolds and sealed the game with two free throws with three seconds remaining.
The contest played out nothing like the regular season matchups, both of which Parkersburg Catholic won by a combined total of 40 points.
In this one, Williamstown played aggressive and caused problems throughout for the Crusaderettes, building a 15-14 lead after one quarter.
When Kayli Sauro made a short jump shot late in the first half, Williamstown held a 27-24 lead, but Leslie Huffman made a pair of layups to key a 6-0 PC run to end the half, allowing her team to lead by three at the intermission.
“They’re a very, very good team and we held them at bay for a long time,” coach Sauro said. “We did a lot of good things. The thing that I saw more than anything was that we challenged them. We felt we had to challenge their good players and we played good defense.”
Parkersburg Catholic built a 34-28 advantage early in the third, but the Yellowjackets got 3-pointers from Sauro and Isabelle Erb later in the third quarter to to narrow the deficit, before Rinehart’s layup sent the game into the fourth quarter tied at 40.
The fourth quarter featured a total of 44 points and seven lead changes, and Rinehart accounted for four straight points to turn a one-point deficit into a 51-48 lead.
A 3 from Erb moments later stretched the lead to 54-50, and Jenna Pridemore connected on a jumper that gave WHS a 56-52 lead just past the midway point of the fourth quarter, but the Yellowjackets never made another field goal.
“I’m disapppointed for our kids, but our kids played a tremendous game and we feel very good about that,” coach Sauro said. “We know we could have won it.”
Rinehart led all players with 26 points, while Erb added nine points on three 3s. Bethany Arnold led all players with 11 rebounds in defeat.
Boice’s 20 points led Parkersburg Catholic, while Madeline Huffman and Brunny were also in double figures with 15 and 12 points, respectively.
Madeline Huffman also had six assists in the win.
With the win, Parkersburg Catholic will stay at home for its regional contest and face Tug Valley. Williamstown now must travel to face Saint Joseph Central in Huntington.