HUNTINGTON — It appears that three is the favorite number of the St. Joseph girls basketball team.
The Irish have built their winning tradition on utilizing talent and tempo, which enables them to get into transition and look for open 3-point looks for an array of shooters for head coach Shannon Lewis. In this year’s Class A championship game, Lewis watched as St. Joseph senior Paige Shy showed what that philosophy is all about in knocking down an all-classes record of eight 3-pointers en route to 28 points in a 71-46 win over Parkersburg Catholic.
Not only did Shy earn a spot alone in the record books and a state championship with the performance, but she also earned another accolade as captain of the Class A girls basketball team, as voted on by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.
Shy averaged 18.4 points and 5.5 rebounds per game while adding 2.6 steals and two assists per contest for the Irish, who finished the season 23-4 while being ranked as high as No. 22 nationally this past season.
“Paige has just done so much for us throughout the years,” Lewis said. “I think this year, she really elevated her play because we had several players down at different times. She can shoot in transition and if you leave her alone, she’ll knock down looks, but where she’s improved most is ball-handling and rebounding. That has helped her all-around game.”
In keeping with the Irish’s theme of ‘Three’, the team placed three players on the Class A first team. Senior Dena Jarrells (15.7 points, 3.7 assists, three rebounds, 2.5 steals) and junior Bailee Adkins (11.2 points, 5.4 assists, 4.2 steals, 4.1 rebounds) joined Shy as first-team members.
Parkersburg Catholic, which advanced to the state championship game, had a pair of first-team honorees in junior Madeline Huffman (15.7 points, 5.5 assists, 3.4 steals) and sophomore Aaliyah Brunny (16.5 points, 6.2 rebounds, 5.0 steals). Wheeling Central junior Eden Gainer (18.4 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 3.3 steals) and Trinity senior Reagan Sharp (16.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, 5.3 steals, 5.2 assists) made the first-team while Summers County sophomore Gavin Pivont (20.8 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.8 steals) rounded out the top eight selections.
All eight players helped lead their team to the state tournament in Charleston this year.
Tucker County junior Terra Kuhn was named as the captain of the second team after a year in which she averaged a double-double (14 points, 10 rebounds, 5.0 steals) while impacting the game in several ways. Many of the members of the Class A second team will return next season with only two seniors — Notre Dame’s Taylor Martino and Madonna’s Andrea Alimario — among the eight selections. Martino averaged 17.2 points and 6.8 rebounds while Alimario averaged 16.4 points and 7.5 rebounds per outing.
In addition to Kuhn, juniors on the team included Magnolia’s Kyndra Pilant (17.5 points, 17.3 rebounds, 3.2 blocks) and Wheeling Central’s Kaylee Reinbeau (15.8 points, 9.4 rebounds). Summers County’s Taylor Isaac (20.8 points, 3.5 assists, 3.3 steals) and Magnolia’s Mady Winters (23.1 points, 13.1 rebounds) were sophomores on the team while Parkersburg Catholic’s Leslie Huffman emerged as a strong, young talent within the state, averaging 12.6 points, 5.0 steals and 4.2 rebounds in helping the Crusaderettes to the title game.
Midland Trail senior Jenny Wilson was named as captain of the senior-laden third team. Other seniors on the team include Tolsia’s Sarah Jude, Ritchie County’s Abi Haught, Sherman’s Deja Busby, Montcalm’s Savannah Bailey, Valley-Fayette’s Hannah Foster and Tyler Consolidated’s Josey Jones. The lone underclassman on the third team was Tug Valley’s Kaylea Baisden.