St. Joe's Anderson enjoys memorable night
HUNTINGTON -- Huntington St. Joe senior Cortney Anderson started her Senior Night with a big smile on her face as her teammates honored her with balloons, pictures and gifts.
As the game wound down on Wednesday night, she added one more memory that no one will ever be able to take from her.
Anderson buried a 3-pointer from the left wing with just under two minutes left to etch her name in the St. Joe record books as the shooter who pushed the Irish over the century mark in a 104-64 win over Williamstown.
The shot gave the Irish its first-ever 100-point game and Anderson a memory that will last forever.
"It's really exciting and I'm really happy," Anderson said. "I don't normally play that much so it was different, but it was awesome -- just a little overwhelming."
Anderson's shot set off a wild celebration by her teammates who were on the bench.
"I jumped out of my seat a little too high and I almost punched Mychal (Johnson) in the face," St. Joe guard Griffin Dempsey said. "I freaked out a little bit, but it was cool."
Johnson laughed about the celebration -- which she escaped unscathed -- and said everyone wanted to see Anderson do well on Wednesday night.
One of the marks of the Irish success over the years has been the ultra-competitive nature of the team's players, but Johnson said Anderson adds a much-needed dimension which helps the team each day they hit the floor.
No matter what is going on with the team, Anderson keeps everyone smiling and relaxed.
"Every day in practice and before games in the locker rooms, we are always dancing," Johnson said. "She's the leader of that. It keeps us loose."
Huntington St. Joe coach Shannon Lewis also heaped praise on Anderson, who handles the pressure of being the team's lone senior well.
"Cortney definitely keeps us light," Lewis said. "She's such a fun kid to be around. She's been around them since they were little and they've traveled together. She's a special kid and that was a great moment for her tonight. We're a better team because she's spent the last few years with us."
Anderson enjoys her role on the team and said it's been a lot of fun to be a part of a team with such a strong legacy.
"I know the capability of all these girls," Anderson said. "I've played with them since I was nine and they were eight. It's been awesome to see them go out and not lose to an in-state team the entire team we've been here and to see how awesome we can play at times."
While there have been many memorable games for the team, Wednesday's will likely rank highly on the list with St. Joe eclipsing the century mark.
The junior-laden Irish feature four players who are all capable of filling up the stat sheet on any night.
It turned out that all four -- Johnson, Dempsey, Asia Petitte and Rachel Lee -- did so on Wednesday.
St. Joe scored the game's first 20 points -- many off of unforced Williamstown turnovers -- to seize control quickly.
Johnson and Asia Petitte were responsible for much of the damage in the first quarter, leading St. Joe to an eye-opening 40-8 lead after one period.
Petitte really set the tone early, scoring eight straight points in one stretch while also securing rebounds and getting the ball out in transition for St. Joe, who was looking to improve its finishing around the rim after a tough offensive night in a win over Ashland on Monday.
Petitte finished the game 10-of-12 from the floor for 20 points.
"We've had a few games where we were sluggish in the first half, so it was good to come out with a great first quarter and first half," Petitte said.
The only things that stopped Petitte early were a pair of fouls that sent her to the bench late in the first.
From there, Johnson and Dempsey took over the offensive load in the first half.
Johnson showed her complete all-around game in the contest, ending the night with a triple-double despite playing just 20 of the 32 minutes in the contest. She finished with 16 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds in the win.
Many of those assists went to Dempsey, her backcourt mate of several years.
Dempsey got hot from the outside early and continued her rhythm throughout. She finished 9-of-11 from the floor, which included five 3-pointers, to end the night with 23 points.
Lee also ended the night in double-figures with 15 points for Huntington St. Joe, who travels to take on Class AAA No. 7 Parkersburg South on Saturday.
Kenzie Smith led Williamstown with 18 points while Brooke Cielewski added 14 in the loss.
WILLIAMSTOWN 8 6 17 33 -- 64: Robinson 3, Cielewski 14, Ellison 7, Kerns 1, Cornell 11, Smith 18, Amos 4, Rea 6
HUNTINGTON ST. JOE 40 25 19 20 -- 104: Anderson 5, Petitte 20, Dempsey 23, Mychal Johnson 16, Lee 15, Mychelle Johnson 6, B. Lee 2, Ca. Gale 2, Jenkins 2, Ch. Gale 2, De. Disu 4, Di. Disu 4, Jeffrey 3