Southern comes back to edge out Madonna girls, 46-42
WEIRTON — The tide turned in the third quarter.
The Madonna girls’ basketball team led Southern Local by 14 points in the second quarter, but the Indians outscored the Blue Dons by 10 points in the third and briefly took the lead in the quarter before Madonna led by one going into the fourth quarter.
The Indians netted the final four points of the quarter to break a tie en route to a 46-42 victory Saturday afternoon on Joanna Bernabei-McNamee Court inside the Bill Barett Gymnasium.
Anna Sevek scored a basket with 43 seconds showing on the clock to give Southern a 44-42 lead, and then she hit a pair of foul shots with 9.3 seconds left to play to seal the deal.
“We brought back the intensity,” Southern coach Mike Skrinjar said. “The girls showed some leadership. Hayleigh Allen used her voice. These girls have a vision. They stepped up. We have some leaders, and they are taking ownership of the team.
“Anytime you have a change of coaches there is going to be a delay. We are taking steps in the right direction. We have a good nucleus. The Columbiana game was tough, but these girls continue to stick together. These girls are resilient.”
Madonna had difficulty with Southern’s pressure defense in the second half.
“They came out and decided to play fullcourt man tempo defense,” first-year Madonna coach Rodney Boniti said. “We gave up a few turnovers. We had an injury. Our point guard (Rachel Boniti) got injured in the third quarter and did not come back. The rhythm of the game changed after that.”
The Indians outscored the Blue Dons, 29-14, in the second half.
“I did send one coach to watch them play this week,” Coach Boniti said. “We knew No. 3 (Sevek) and No. 22 (Felton) were there two main players. We knew we had to check them, and for three quarters we did a good job on them. They are good players. We gave them a window of opportunity, and they capitalized.”
Riley Felton and Sevek each finished in double digits to lead the way offensively for Southern (4-1). Sevek collected a game-high 18 points, while Felton netted 17 points.
“We responded in the second half,” Skrinjar said. “The girls showed a lot of growth and character. That is what athletics and sports are about. These things will help them later in life.
“Give credit to Madonna. Madonna played a heck of a game. They have a good program. They treated us really well. Win or lose, both teams played hard. You hate to see someone lose in games like this. It was back and forth. There were no losers today. I am proud of my team. I told them this was an opportunity to get a win against a quality opponent.”
Two players also scored in double figures for Madonna. Individually, Kasey Canei contributed a team-hgih 13 points to lead the way for the Blue Dons, while Andrea Alimario tallied 12 points.
“I loved our effort,” Coach Boniti said. “Southern is a big team. They are an experienced team. They are a senior strong team. Their top two girls came up big. We did a great job in the first half controlling No. 22 (Felton). We were able to take the post away, but she was able to get some buckets in the third quarter as they battled back into the game.”
Felton scored 10 points in the third.
Madonna led 28-14 late in the second quarter, and the Blue Dons took a 28-17 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Southern outscored Madonna, 16-8, in the third quarter. A basket by Felton gave the Indians a 33-32 lead with 1:51 remaining to be played in the quarter, but a basket by Canei gave the Blue Dons (0-2) a 34-33 advantage entering the fourth.
Southern led by as many as three points – 39-36 and 41-38 – in the fourth, but a steal and a layup by Alimario tied the score at 42 with less than a minute to play.
“I did not know much at all about Madonna,” Skrinjar said. “I know Coach (Bob) Shansky played them in volleyball. Madonna has a good team, and they have got a good program. I knew No. 40 (Alimario) and No. 55 (Canei) are great players. We talked about stopping them. I asked some coaches about them. They are very tough. I have a lot of respect for Madonna. They have a tremendous program. They treated us great. Their coach is a nice guy. I have a lot of respect for Madonna. They are a quality program.”
The Blue Dons missed some scoring chances in the fnal quarter.
“Late game we had our chances,” Coach Boniti said. “We had an out of bounds play where we got an open shot from five-feet away, but it did not drop.
“They made us come and play man. They tried to take the air out of the ball. We got a couple of quick turnovers. We had a couple of looks, but the shots would not stay down.”
Madonna led 11-8 at the end of the first quarter.
“Our effort was great,” Coach Boniti said. “We are going to keep on fighting. We are going to find a way to win, and once we do I expect us to keep on winning.”
Both teams are scheduled to play games against rivals Monday. Southern will play at Wellsville, while Madonna will play at home against Catholic Central before playing Thursday at Weir.
“They are two huge games,” Coach Boniti said. “Our bench played very well today. They gave us an energy boost when we needed it. They gave us great minutes. We had a couple of girls step up. Our future is bright. We have a lot to build off of.”
Southern Local 46, Madonna 42
Southern Local 8-9-16-13 — 46
Madonna 11-17-6-8 — 42
Southern Local (4-1): Allen 2 0-0 4, Hall 0 0-0 0, Sevek 4 10-10 18, Hayes 0 0-0 0, Michael 2 0-0 4, Ingledue 0 0-0 0, Willis 0 0-0 0, Felton 8 1-4 17. Totals: 17 12-17 46.
Madonna (0-2): Boniti 2 2-2 6, Riccadona 2 0-0 5, Staffileno 1 0-1 2, Dowiak 0 0-0 0, Melnyk 1 2-2 4, Mascio 0 0-0 0, Alimario 5 2-3 12, Canei 4 5-7 13. Totals: 15 11-15 42. 3-Pointers: 1 (Riccadonna)