19th annual Fenton Shootout tonight

WILLIAMSTOWN -Most of the gang will return as part of Williamstown’s 10-year anniversary of a girls state title.

During halftime of the second game between Williamstown and Herbert Hoover at today’s 19th annual Fenton Shootout, members of that championship season in 2002-03 will be recognized as part of the festivities.

“They have a very significant accomplishment – that team is the only public school to win a Class A championship in the past 24 years,” Williamstown coach Fred Sauro said.

The defensive style used by those Yellowjackets are a stark contrast from the present version which uses full-court chaos to their advantage.

At the Charleston Civic Center, Williamstown went to three different defenses in three days. The Yellowjackets opted for man-to-man the entire four quarters in a quarterfinal win against Tolsia then switched to what they call a “13 trap” in a semifinal victory over Tygarts Valley.

Against Wheeling Central in the finals, Williamstown’s zone paved the way to a 69-51 win.

“Wheeling Central was slashing through our man-to-man, so we went to zone,” Sauro said.

Four Williamstown players were named to the all-tournament team -Samantha Badgley, Molly Kiger, Cali Pate and Christian Harner. Badgley, Kiger and Pate, who became 1,000-point scorers in their career at Williamstown, were also recognized as first-team all-staters.

“I knew we were going to be good early when we had our (Fenton Shootout) that season,” Sauro said. “Mercer Christian, who won the state title four years in a row, came up to play us and we were leading 59-24 to start the fourth quarter.

“One of the top girls for Mercer Christian ended up being the leading scorer in the ACC a few years later, so I knew they had to be pretty good.”

Rounding out the roster from that banner season were Cassie Pate, Alisha Starcher, Courtney Davis, Mallory Davis, Ann Seufer, Carlie Ebra, Amy Somerville and Candy Ferguson. Seufer was a freshman at the time and eventually became a two-time all-stater.

“It is going to be wonderful to see them again,” Sauro said. “When they heard about this reception, they jumped at the chance. We’ve been working on this for a few months. I was the idea guy and my assistant coach Howard Rowsey made it happen.”

The Fenton Shootout tips off at 6:30 p.m. Friday with Scott hooking up with third-ranked Wheeling Central. Last year, eventual Class A state champion Huntington St. Joe defeated Scott 62-47 in the finals of the Shootout.