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Charleston Catholic girls break PC's heart again

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Charleston Catholic had already dealt Parkersburg Catholic one heartbreaking loss this season, and Thursday night turned out to be the kind of déjà vu Crusaderette coach Marty Vierheller didn't want to see.

The Irish's Vida Imani scored five of her team-best 15 points in overtime as the Irish made a 19-point second-half rally by Parkersburg Catholic a moot point in a 56-49 win at the Charleston Catholic Athletic Facility.

Imani is the same player who completed a three-point play with 1.3 seconds left on Dec. 12 to push the Irish to a 52-51 win over Parkersburg Catholic after Charleston Catholic scored the last nine points of the game.

The roles were reversed this time as Parkersburg Catholic was left to chase the Irish down, and though they did in just the nick of time, the result was just as painful.

"That's a game that's going to help us come postseason," Charleston Catholic coach Zack Bogan said. "To know that we can dig down and grind out a game that's not pretty. That's two games against them, neither one's been pretty, and I'm glad they're over for now."

The Irish (5-1) could've prevented a lot of drama by hitting some foul shots, especially down the stretch. Charleston Catholic hit just 10 of 28 free throws, including 2 of 12 in the fourth quarter.

But credit the Crusaderettes (2-9), who battled back from a 32-13 deficit early in the third quarter to tie the game at 44 at the end of regulation on a Rachel Gammon layup with eight seconds left.

PC looked poised to cruise early as it opened a 7-0 lead and forced an early timeout from Bogan, only to have the Irish respond with a 32-6 spurt until the Crusaderettes began their rally.

"We had the quick start in the first quarter and it didn't faze them in the least," Vierheller said. "After we got the quick start, we decided to go out and try and reinvent the game. I think we got away from what we do.

"We just dug ourselves a big hole that we did climb out of enough to force overtime - in overtime they made a few more plays than we did."

Alex Schaffer hit three 3-pointers after halftime for the Crusaderettes, all of them contested, to help spark the comeback. Reily Sturm also scored nine of her game-high 17 points in the third quarter and finished with 10 rebounds, six assists and four steals.

Hannah Gallian scored 13 points for the Irish and Anna Whelan added 11, despite hitting just 3 of 10 foul shots and going 1 for 7 in the fourth quarter.

"We couldn't make a free throw to save our life, but that was more of a mental issue than anything else," Bogan said. "Two games coming into this I think we were a combined 23 for 30 or something like that, so it happens.

"If you're going to ask me who I want at the free-throw line, we had our best free-throw shooters on the line. Credit Peyton Mullen, she stepped up and knocked down three or four in overtime to right the ship."

Mullen went 3 of 4 in the extra period and grabbed five rebounds to go with her seven points.

Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948, ryan.pritt@wvgazette.com, or follow him at twitter.com/RPritt.

 


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