By Joe Albright
News and Sentinel
PARKERSBURG — Madeline Huffman dribbled herself into a good look as Catholic trailed by two points with seconds left in the fourth quarter Saturday inside Parkersburg Catholic High School. Her 3-ball looked good until it clanked off the rim and as the Crusaderettes took their first loss of the regular season in 27 games.
One night after a second-half comeback fell short against Williamstown, Trinity responded by battling with the preseason No. 2 team in the state all afternooon in a 64-62 win.
Leighton Croft and Davis & Elkins College commit Reagan Sharp hit on the front end of double-bonus trips to the foul line in the closing minute to secure the two-point win. The pair’s conversions nullified Jenna Boice’s two free-throw makes to knot things at 62 with 48 seconds left in the game.
Sharp, a third-team all-state selection last season, scored a team-high 21 points, while Croft added 12.
Coach Mike Baldy’s Warriors (5-2) responded to every Catholic run with a spurt of their own to keep PC (6-1) trailing for all but a brief lead change in the second quarter. A pair of Lainie Ross charity-stripe tosses put PCHS ahead 21-20 with 3:35 left until halfime.
“I give all the credit in the world to Trinity,” Parkersburg Catholic coach Marty Vierheller said. “They went out and they did what they had to do to win. Today was more like a boxing match than a basketball game.”
Freshman Leslie Huffman paced Parkersburg Catholic — which has a break until a meeting with Little Kanawha West-foe Ravenswood for a 7:30 p.m. matchup Thursday in the Mary O Crusaderette Classic — with 24 points. She also swiped six balls and pulled down as many boards.
Sister Madeline and Aaliyah Brunny also scored in double-digits with 11 and 17 markers respectively.
Brunny dealt with foul trouble for the second straight game. She fouled out of the contest. while Huffman made several uncharactistic mistakes.
“We knew how good the Huffman girls were coming in but my goodness Aaliyah Brunny is tough and she can almost score at will every time she touches the ball,” Baldy said. “In my histoy of coaching, we have had a lot of players in foul trouble and I am not good getting them out of the game. So to see them get Brunny fouled out of the game, I was proud of them. We made it [fouling Brunny out] a goal at halftime and I think that played into us finishing off the game in the fourth quarter.
Similar to its Thursday win over Notre Dame, Vierheller’s team started slowly as Trinity tallied seven of the first nine points of the game on two buckets and a foul shot from forward Kaylie Laskody.
Sharp then took over with four of the Warriors’ next five baskets to set the final first-quarter score at 17-11. Leslie Huffman scored all but four points for the home team in the opening period.
“Any time you get behind to a good team that is not going to help you,” Vierheller said.
An extra period might have been in the works but Boice missed two free-throw attempts with 1:06 remaining in the contest. She converted four of six in the final 1:23.
“This is a game we expected to win,” said Vierheller. “No, I am not happy and I don’t think our girls are either but if we learn from this and get better that is a good thing.”