St. Joseph’s Paige Shy came into Saturday’s Class A girls basketball state championship game wanting to leave a lasting impression in her final game with the Irish.
As it turned out, Shy showed exactly why she has signed with Marshall University.
Shy set the all-classes record for 3-pointers in a game and finished with 28 points and eight rebounds to lead St. Joseph to a 71-46 win over Parkersburg Catholic at the Charleston Coliseum.
“I can’t even put it into words,” Shy said. “That’s exactly how I wanted to end my career. This team is so special and it’s going to hit me that it’s my last one. It’s just crazy.”
St. Joseph (23-4) took off in the third quarter, ripping off a 13-0 run, with Shy hitting three 3-pointers during the surge to push the Irish lead to 49-28 with 3:04 left in the quarter.
From there, Parkersburg Catholic (24-2) never threatened as the Irish earned their ninth Class A championship in 11 years.
As the fourth quarter wound down, the outcome was never in doubt. Instead, the only thing left in doubt was whether Shy would get the record — a feat she accomplished when she swished a shot from the wing with 2:25 remaining.
Fellow senior Dena Jarrells exited by connecting on her final field goal attempt as well — a 3-pointer from up top — before the duo exited arm-in-arm before hugging head coach Shannon Lewis.
Jarrells, who finished with 14 points in her final contest, said it was the only way that she wanted to exit the floor.
“We told Shannon ‘take us out together’ because we wanted to walk off that floor together, just like we have every year we’ve been here,” Jarrells said. “Walking over and Bailee [Adkins] meeting us right there, it was even more special. We’re a bunch of sisters on this team — everyone, from one and all the way to 13 off the bench. We’re just a big family.”
The final margin did not indicate the battle within the game, especially in the first half, when Parkersburg Catholic started as the aggressor before St. Joseph’s depth led to a 33-22 halftime lead.
Both teams saw integral pieces of their lineup saddled with foul trouble — St. Joe’s Bailee Adkins and Catholic’s Aaliyah Brunny — but depth really proved vital for the Irish in the second-half run.
Brunny’s third foul came late in the first half and seemed to zap the energy out of the Crusaderettes just before halftime as the Irish turned a seven-point contest into a double-digit halftime lead before pouring it on in the second half.
The Irish got production from post presence Hannah Roberts, who finished with 12 points, and freshmen Dionna Gray and Imani Hickman helped to push the lead to its double-digit margin.
Hickman came in late in the first quarter and immediately went to work with three quick baskets while Gray came off the bench and had five first-half steals while bridging the gap left by Adkins’ foul trouble.
Post play was crucial for the Irish with starter Hannah Roberts and Hickman being a matchup problem for Parkersburg Catholic. Roberts finished with 12 points and nine rebounds while Hickman added eight points and five boards.
Brunny finished with 15 points while Madeline Huffman added 12 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Freshman Leslie Huffman had 11 points, nine rebounds and six assists.