Huntington St. Joe girls capture 13th straight regional title
HUNTINGTON — The Huntington St. Joe girls basketball team won its 13th consecutive Class A, Region IV title Thursday with a 78-38 win over Williamstown, a final appearance on their home court for seniors Paige Shy and Dena Jarrells.
Shy, a Marshall commitment, and Jarrells, a Chattanooga commit, both did their usual damage to the opposing defense.
Shy led the Fighting Irish with 16 points, while Jarrells scored 11.
However, the two stars got assistance from up and down the bench, which helped fill the void left by the injured Bailee Adkins and Dionna Gray.
In their absence, Huntington St. Joe (20-4) got 14 points from starter Laney Whitmore, seven points from Abby Lee, who took Adkins’ spot in the starting lineup, and 12 points from starting center Hannah Roberts.
“Laney and Abby are both capable players,” Fighting Irish head coach Shannon Lewis said. “Teams are keying on Dena and Paige, so with Bailee out it gives others more looks.”
Williamstown (18-6) was within 10 points of a tie with Huntington St. Joe at the end of the first period. Then the Fighting Irish got two 3-pointers from Whitmore and one from Ava Lee off the bench as part of a 21-point second period.
Huntington St. Joe continued its dominance in the third period with a 3-pointer by Shy and four points each in the quarter from Nene Hickman, Abby Lee and Roberts to take a 63-29 lead into the final period, where the Fighting Irish coasted to victory.
By appearing in the co-final, Huntington St. Joe was already guaranteed a return appearance at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center for next week’s girls state championship tournament where it was defeated a year ago in the championship game.
“Last year’s (championship) loss goes through my head all the time,” Shy said. “I’m glad to get back.”
Lewis said he’s hopeful to have both Adkins and Gray back in time for the state tournament next week. He said if neither can return, he’s confident and excited about the balance the team showed.
WILLIAMSTOWN 10 10 9 9 — 38: Newton 3, Rinehart 9, Pridemore 6, Sauro 2, Reynolds 5, Erb 5, Hooper 2, Arnold 6.
HUNTINGTON ST. JOE 20 21 22 15 — 78: Hickman 8, Whitmore 14, Preservati 6, Jarrells 11, Abby Lee 7, Lopez 1, Ava Lee 3, Shy 16.