CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Wyoming East entered the state tournament having played only 10 games this season.
A lack of contests, however, did nothing to prevent the Warriors from achieving their ultimate goal at the Charleston Coliseum.
Behind the usual steady play of senior point guard Skylar Davidson and solid contributions from role players, Wyoming East handed Parkersburg Catholic its first loss in Saturday’s Class AA title game, 61-50.
“Our defense was solid all game and created opportunities for us,” WEHS coach Angie Boninsegna said. “We were lucky this year having depth and it really helped us. Three games (at the state tournament) is rough, but we can go eight or nine deep. It helped get our momentum going. They made some runs at us and we made some key shots.”
Davidson finished with 23 points on 8-of-11 shooting, six rebounds, six steals and four assists. For the state tournament, she averaged 19.7 points, 8.3 assists and 7.7 steals and played 94 of a possible 96 minutes.
“Playing the game, you never know when it’s going to end. I have to play every game like it’s my last and today was my last as a Warrior,” Davidson said. “I’m going to miss these girls. I’ve been through injuries and some tough times. I really kind of go numb during a game.”
The victory gives the Warriors their first state championship since 2016 and marks the Crusaderettes’ second loss in a final in three seasons. It also snapped Parkersburg Catholic’s 44-game win streak dating back to the start of last season.
“The scoreboard shows Wyoming East scored eleven more points than us today and they deserve to be state champion, but I have state champion young ladies,” PCHS coach Marty Vierheller said.
Although the Crusaderettes (18-1) were never out of the game, they never led. That was largely due to Wyoming East (11-2) getting out to an 11-2 lead, and eight-first quarter points from Warriors’ forward Daisha Summers helped force PCHS into a 17-11 deficit entering the second.
Twice, Parkersburg Catholic got to within three points in the second quarter, first off an Aaliyah Brunny three-pointer and again when Lainie Ross made a jumper to cut the WEHS lead to 20-17.
But the Warriors held Catholic without a field goal and to two points over the remainder of the half, while Hannah Blankenship hit a pair of triples to help Wyoming East lead 29-19 at the break.
“There’s hardly anybody that gets me set up better than Skylar,” Blankenship said. “She always knows where I want the ball and puts it in my pocket every time.”
Parkersburg Catholic’s 11 first-half turnovers were a big reason it was only able to attempt 18 shots.
That changed in the third quarter, when the Crusaderettes made 8-of-20 field goals and scored 10 points in the paint. Still, Catholic could only cut into its deficit by two points as Davidson made three-pointers for the Warriors’ first and last field goals of the frame.
“Every time they made a run at us, we hit a key shot to keep (the lead) at eight or ten,” Boninsegna said.
A three from Leslie Huffman to start the fourth enabled PCHS to trail 45-40, but that was as close as it got.
Davidson and Madison Clark answered with key baskets to up the lead to nine. Catholic made one last push and got it 56-50 after Ross and Brunny accounted for consecutive baskets, but Davidson answered by going coast-to-coast for a layup with 1:07 remaining.
Eight of Davidson’s 23 points came in the final quarter.
“Skylar directs the traffic out there and her girls responded for her,” Vierheller said.
Wyoming East, which has appeared in four of the last five Class AA finals, won its first title since 2016.
“It’s a relief for me,” Davidson said. “I’ve always been on the other side. I knew this year was my last opportunity to be on top and I took it personal.”
Blankenship finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds to help the Warriors win the battle of the boards, 38-30. Summers contributed 10 points and eight rebounds, while Clark recorded five steals.
Huffman scored 11 of her 14 points in the second half and added seven boards, four assists and four steals. Ross had 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting and a team-high eight boards. Brunny finished with 11 points and six rebounds in her final high school game.
The Warriors made 8-of-18 threes, while Catholic hurt its cause with a 3 for 12 effort at the free-throw line.
“You miss the freebies and layups and it seems to compound,” Vierheller said. “Each play weighs more heavily in a game like this.”
Kayla Lantz, Petersburg
Aaliyah Brunny, Parkersburg Catholic
Abby Russell, Wyoming East
Leslie Huffman, Parkersburg Catholic
Daisha Summers, Wyoming East
Nicole Reynolds, Williamstown
Sydney Bolles, Charleston Catholic
Skylar Davidson, Wyoming East