PARKERSBURG — The only concrete fact known before the matchup between Clarksburg Notre Dame and Parkersburg Catholic’s girls’ basketball teams was the dream of a perfect season continued for just one Thursday evening.
Marty Vierheller’s Crusaderettes kept their goose egg in the loss column intact after the final buzzer sounded in a 53-42 win over Bob Martino’s Fighting Irish.
Catholic’s Aaliyah Brunny overcame opening-half foul trouble for a 19-point evening as Madeline Huffman (11) and Madison Ross (10) joined her in double digits. And Vierheller’s team as a whole shrugged off a sluggish first quarter on both ends of the floor for its sixth win of the season.
A 20-4 third quarter propelled the home team past the feisty visitors. The lanky defense of the Crusaderettes forced the Irish into a 2 for 11 period out of the locker room.
“We had to assert ourselves defensively,” said Vierheller. “We had to go out and do our job and when we did that it worked out OK for us. That third quarter was massive for us.
“I’ll tell you what all week they had our full and undivided attention because that team is for real. They are well coached and give excellent effort.”
The Fighting Irish grabbed said attention with an offensively explosive first quarter. Emilee Henderson was the beneficiary of PC’s defensive lapses as she connected on four first-period 3s to help the Fighting Irish to a 17-10 lead after the first eight minutes.
“The first half we ran offense and when we do run offense, we are pretty good,” said Martino. “When we don’t you saw what happened in the third quarter. We didn’t have any patience. We are a team who came in knowing Parkersburg Catholic is a pretty good team and we still have to realize we are a pretty good team too. One quarter killed us in that 20-4 third period.”
Overall, Henderson finished with five connections from downtown on her way to matching Brunny with 19 points. Martino noticed the positive momentum building in his player all night long and enjoyed the performance.
“Emily is all about confidence,” said Martino. “She is a great basketball player and if she just realizes that we will be OK. Hopefully tonight she got that. She is a great shooter and drives the ball great. I am very happy with the way she played and not surprised.”
The problem for the Irish was what happened after the first quarter. Catholic clamped down on defense in the second quarter and took a one-point advantage at halftime. Notre Dame scored just 11 points in the second and third periods combined.
Not having an answer for Ross caused plenty of pain as well. The sophomore forward scored six of her markers in a 15-7 second-period advantage for Catholic. Her bucket in the paint with four minutes until the half proved the most damaging as the hosts never relinquished their only lead of the game.
Two of Taylor Martino’s 14-points on a basket with 2:50 left in the third period drew the Irish as close as they would be the rest of the night at seven points. Brunny’s putback off a Jenna Boice miss during the Crusaderettes’ next possession kicked off a 12-0 run to end the quarter.
PCHS receives one rest day before Trinity comes to town for a 1 p.m. matchup Saturday.
No. 2 Parkersburg Catholic 53,
No. 3 Notre Dame 42
NDHS 17 7 4 14 — 42
PCHS 10 15 20 8 — 53
NOTRE DAME (7-1)
Emilee Henderson 7 0-0 19, Taylor Martino 5 4-4 14, Amelia Angotti 1 0-1 3, Emma McKeen 2 0-0 5, Morgan Turner 1 0-0 2; TOTALS: 16 4-5 42; 3-point goals: Henderson 5, Angotti 1
PARKERSBURG CATHOLIC (6-0)
Aaliyah Brunny 9 0-0 19, Madeline Huffman 4 2-2 11, Leslie Huffman 3 2-2 8, Madison Ross 5 0-0 10, Kiah Eastwood 1 0-0 2, Paige Stotts 1 1-2 3; TOTALS: 22 5-6 53; 3-point goals: Brunny 1, M. Huffman 1
Shooting: ND 16-38 (42%), PC 22-44 (50%); Rebounds: ND 14 (McKeen 4), PC 25 (Brunny 6, Ross 5); Assists: ND 4, PC 10 (Huffman 9); Steals: ND 8, PC 6; Turnovers: ND 16, PC 15
Next game: Trinity at Parkersburg Catholic, 1 p.m. Saturday