PARKERSBURG - One of the best measures of success of any sporting event is its longevity.
That being the case, one must describe the Mary O Crusaderette Classic -which gets under way tonight at Parkersburg Catholic High School -a rousing success as is this will be the 17th annual tournament.
Due to the withdrawal of one of the four participating teams, only three squads will be competing as Wirt County and Buffalo will join host Parkersburg Catholic in the two-day event.
At 6 p.m. today, Buffalo (5-2) and Wirt County (2-5) will meet in a rematch of their Dec. 19 thriller at Buffalo, won by Wirt County, 50-49. That will be the only game of the night.
On Thursday, a doubleheader will take place. At 6 p.m., the Parkersburg Catholic junior varsity team will meet tonight's loser. Following that game, tonight's winner will meet the Crusaderette varsity, which will bring a 4-2 record into the contest.
Catholic's losses have come to the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked teams in Class A -Huntington St. Joe and St. Marys. The Crusaderettes have defeated Class AA Ritchie County and Class A rivals Charleston Catholic, Tyler Consolidated and Doddridge County.
Mary O. Crusaderette Classic
6 p.m.: Buffalo (5-2) vs. Wirt County (2-5)
6 p.m.: Wednesday loser vs. Parkersburg Catholic JV
7:30 p.m.: Championship Game: Wednesday winner vs. Parkersburg Catholic (4-2)
The Crusaderettes of coach Marty Vierheller are led by returning first team all-state selection Leah Hughes, who Vierheller describes as Catholic's "go-to player.'' That's not always possible as opposing coaches have been designing their defenses to limit Hughes' offensive opportunities.
But that just opens things up for Maddie Roedersheimer, who had 18 points and 19 rebounds in an impressive win over Tyler Consolidated. Catholic went into the season in need of a point guard and Vierheller found one by moving senior Rachel Nill to that position. "Rachel has accepted that role,'' Vierheller said. "She knows our system.''
Forward Alex Schaffer is a sharpshooter who opponents can't allow to get open. She has been improving her defensive skills and has become a fixture in the lineup.
Vierheller couldn't be more pleased with the play of freshman Reilly Sturm, who not only has earned a starting position but also has quickly earned a reputation for her physical play.
The great thing about his lineup says Vierheller is that all five starters are interchangeable and can play whatever role is necessary.
Top reserves are Ellen Roedersheimer and Erica Tracewell.
The Mary O Crusaderette Clasic is named in honor of former Catholic standout Mary Ostrowski, who went on to star at the University of Tennessee and is a member of the West Virginia Sports Writers Hall of Fame.