CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Class A No. 2 Parkersburg Catholic has had its sights set on a state championship since it came up short in last year’s title game.
So despite Thursday’s 85-47 runaway win over No. 7 Tucker County, there was understandable dejection from the Crusaderettes moments after they eliminated the Mountain Lions.
A formal announcement announcing the suspension of the girls state tournament due to coronavirus came from the office of Gov. Jim Justice following the third quarter of the quarterfinal matchup.
“I wanted to seal the deal and I’m holding out hope we can still do that,” said senior point guard Madeline Huffman after setting a Class A state tournament record with 15 assists. “Being behind the scenes, you can’t help but notice how hard everybody has worked.”
PC coach Marty Vierheller praised the performance of his team, which shot better than 56 percent (36-of-64) from the field and never trailed.
“We don’t know how the script is going to end, but being in a situation nobody is used to, these young ladies handled themselves extremely well,” Vierheller said.
The Crusaderettes (26-0) got a game-high 30 points from Aaliyah Brunny, while Huffman’s younger sister, Leslie Huffman, added 23 in the win.
Much of their offensive output was aided by Madeline Huffman, a 5-foot-4 point guard and the team’s only senior.
“She’s changed the culture of this program,” Vierheller said. “She makes things happen, but it’s not about her. Madeline Huffman is as special a young lady as I’ve been around.”
PC led 21-5 after one quarter and took a 41-16 advantage into halftime. Tucker County had 17 of its 27 turnovers in the opening half, which allowed the Crusaderettes to attempt 20 more shots (35-15). Despite having a size advantage, the Mountain Lions were also outrebounded 18-12 through two quarters.
“We knew we were going to have to have a monumental effort today against a great team,” Mountain Lions coach David Helmick said. “We had some breakdowns, especially with defensive rebounding.”
The Crusaderettes led by at least 22 throughout the second half.
Should the tournament resume, Parkersburg Catholic would face No. 3 Gilmer County in a semifinal.
The Crusaderettes are the lone remaining unbeaten in the state.
“They love one another and that shows when they play,” Vierheller said. “They play with a lot of grace and class and they play the game the right way. If that’s what’s said about you, you’ve had a good career.”