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Parkersburg Catholic girls celebrate 50 years of basketball | News, Sports, Jobs

Pictured are members of the first Crusaderette basketball team at Parkersburg Catholic High School. A recognition ceremony for the team’s 50th anniversary will be held in Parkersburg at the start of the PCHS girls’ game with Frankfurt on Saturday. Seated in the front row, from left: Monica Borkowski, Mary Lopez, Coach Doug Hoselton, Marianne Rice, Virginia Fries and Kathy Moore. Back row: Gina DiBetta, Libby O’Leary, Barb Kelcher, Linda Crake, Molly Marchi, Kelley McDonie and Rita Lauer. (photo provided)

PARKERSBURG — The values ​​taught today at Parkersburg’s Crusaderette Catholic girls’ basketball program date back to its inaugural season when the school plans to recognize a golden moment in its history.

This weekend, members of the Crusaderette girls’ first basketball team reunite as the school marks the 50th anniversary of the exact month that a group of high school girls approached their gym teacher about starting the first all-women team at PCHS.

“When the women got together for a Zoom meeting, Libby (Rasmussen) O’Leary talked about looking back at what happened and what became of the program – it’s very special and has grown into something very productive.” said Monica (Davis) Borkowski, the only senior on the roster and a key coordinator in bringing together teammates covering a wide spectrum of the country, such as South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York and Wisconsin.

Of the original 13 members, nine will be present at the ceremony, which is set to begin an hour before the start of the PCHS girls’ game against Frankfurt. Opening tip is scheduled for 7 p.m

Two members of the 1973 PCHS girls team have died — coach Doug Hoselton and Linda (DeCarlo) Crake, who was one of three freshmen that season.

“I tell people how I was at the funeral home when Linda died — she was doing taekwondo and in one of the pictures she’s doing the kick with one leg.” said Davis. “There she had her prosthetic leg. She lost her leg to cancer. What a warrior she was.

“She was always a quiet person but asked if you needed help with anything. She was a bright light in the room.”

Davis and Crake in the first PCHS list of 1973 included juniors Rita (Modesitt) Lauer and Marianne (Simonton) Rice, sophomores Mary Lopez, Kelley (Arnold) McDonie, Barbara (Marasco) Kelcher, Libby (Rasmussen ) O’Leary and Gena (Kerrigan) DeBetta, along with newcomers Virginia (Pitts) Fries and Molly (Cannon) Marchi. Kathy Moore was the team’s scorekeeper.

“When you think of 50 years, it’s really humbling and exciting at the same time,” Current PCHS girls coach Marty Vierheller said. “I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how it all started with a group of girls who asked Coach Hoselton to coach them. Coach said, “Sure, I’ll do it.” Look how much it’s grown.

“It started immediately. Coach Hoselton made an impact on these girls’ lives and they haven’t forgotten it. The program here at Parkersburg Catholic – we value tradition, family and excellence. We use these words. We say them and we mean them. I would like to believe that nothing has changed.”

This first season was met with great challenges. There was no preset schedule. Manager Hoselton received a call from an opposing team midweek and the girls continued their preparation for a game this Saturday.

Quarter lengths varied from game to game. Sometimes quarters lasted six minutes. Other times eight minutes. Several opponents played with backcourt injuries, some didn’t.

When the girls hit the ground, they received their share of skepticism from onlookers. The girls turned the other cheek and continued to focus on the game plan.

“Yes, we heard some comments, but we took it calmly,” said Davis. “We wanted to play basketball”

To practice, the Crusaderettes ranked at the bottom of the school’s pecking order and didn’t show up to the gym for practice until 7 or 7:30 p.m. With the wide age range, this has only brought the team closer together as a family.

“The high schoolers didn’t have classes with the first or second graders—when we practiced, we formed a bond,” said Davis.

The regular season consisted of a handful of games against Ohio teams. At the end of the year, coach Hoselton managed to put together a Catholic girls’ tournament consisting of four teams including Charleston Catholic, Weirton Madonna and Bishop Donahue.

In the semifinals, PCHS defeated Charleston Catholic 36-25, behind 10 points from Kelley McDonie and another nine points from Marianne Rice.

Against Bishop Donahue in the championship game, PCHS built a 23-10 lead at halftime and eventually won 42-30, behind 16 points from McDonie and 11 points from Mary Lopez.

Apart from a six-year run from 1919 to 1924, it was not until 1976 that girls’ basketball throughout the state of West Virginia established its annual series of state tournaments under WVSSAC membership.

Coach Hoselton, fresh out of college after graduating from Glenville State when he accepted the girls request in 1973, stayed on board with PCHS long enough to win back-to-back Class A state championships in 1977 and 1978.

PCHS’ 88-game winning streak under Hoselton ended in the finals of the 1979 state tournament.

Hoselton also made his mark as a collegiate-level coach at New Mexico State and Penn State.

In March 2022, Hoselton died at his home in Buckeye, Arizona, at the age of 71. Coach Hoselton’s memories of each player will be commemorated in a program made available on Saturday’s game night.

“Coach Hoselton was so much more to me than a teacher and coach.” said Marianne (Simonton) Rice. “He was a mentor, a father figure and later a good friend… What impresses me most is the way he made me feel and the life lessons he taught us.

“Coach gave me the power to believe in myself and to have an unending passion for what I believe in and what I love… he believed in ‘US’ and stood up for us even when no one else would have . He worked hard and loved us. In return, we worked hard for him and loved him and each other. And so began the legacy of PCHS Crusaderettes basketball.”

According to Vierheller, he recalls that Hoselton didn’t just influence the girls’ basketball team. While still in middle school at Parkersburg Catholic and taking classes with Hoselton as his teacher, Vierheller noticed Hoselton’s responsiveness to the needs of all students.

“Whether you played sports or not, he was such a teacher and such a person.” said Vierheller, who remembers the coach, especially when he walks past Hoselton’s old office, which is in the lobby just before he enters the gym. “He’s coached some pretty good players in Mary Ostrowski and Mary Lopez, but he’s proven to be a highly talented coach.

“So blessed was Parkersburg Catholic High School to have a man who was a coach of this caliber and was the one who got off to such an amazing start.”

Vierheller, also a Glenville State College graduate, led the Crusaderettes to their 10th state title last season. And to think that it all came about around three or four pieces created by Hoselton and printed on a Ditto machine, which was then given to each of the girls on that first PCHS team.

“Coach Hoselton never played because of an accident – he learned, he learned” said Davis. “In the second season someone asked if he had a choice to train boys or girls, he said girls because they had fewer bad habits. That they hadn’t worked under different coaches.

“None of us in that first team had that preconceived notion of how things should be because we were all the same.”

Hoselton attended a ceremony as PCHS celebrated 25 years of girls basketball. Several seasons were represented, each represented by coaches and players from different eras. This year the ceremony is very special. The spotlight belongs to the members of this inaugural season.

Receptions are planned for Friday evening and after the PCHS game against Frankfurt on Saturday in the school cafeteria. Still, there will be a gap with coach Hoselton absent.

“Wonderful memories of Coach Hoselton bringing out the best in all of his players and the joy of playing basketball together.” said Gena (Kerrigan) DiBetta. “He would be so proud of how his team came together to celebrate the beginning of the Crusaderettes.”

As an underdog who came into the program as an assistant 10 years ago, former Tucker County head coach Tom Carr sees how similar the carryover from previous and original PCHS teams is to the current versions.

“The game has changed a bit, but what Coach Hoselton represents for the school and what we’re trying to do in the school are the same values ​​as 50 years ago.” Carr said. “The same standards apply to all girls.”

Among those behind the scenes who have helped bring the weekend together are Father John Rice of St. Francis Xavier and PCHS yearbook teacher Christi Greathouse. Members of the 1973 team will be joined by current PCHS players along with teams from elementary and middle school programs for a Sunday morning church service.

Greathouse has transformed her classroom into a research dynamic where students flip through yearbooks for Crusaderette team photos from years past as part of a presentation in conjunction with Saturday’s recognition ceremony.

Davis also alluded to a recent Crusaderette who wanted to hear more about this first season and the jumpsuits girls wore to gym class and served as part of their basketball uniform.

“I never thought of 50 years – for me it’s like a whole life”, said Lopez, who teaches kindergarten in Huntington. “What’s going to be so special is we have so many people coming and just the fact that we can get back together and say, ‘We did it and see where we are now.’

“Look at all the wonderful memories we have to move on with our lives.”

Contact Kerry Patrick at [email protected]

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