Dons down CCHS

WHEELING – Madonna coach Don Ogden had a few goals he wanted his Blue Dons to accomplish in the opening round of the Upper Ohio Valley Basketball Tournament against Steubenville Catholic.

They responded by completing nearly all of them in the first 90 seconds of the game as Madonna cruised to a 43-21 victory against the Crusaders on Friday.

”We wanted move our feet on defense, box out and hit the outlet if we got the rebound,” Ogden said. ”I think we did that pretty good. It was probably the best game that we’ve run the court. There’s a lot of room on this court and, if you take advantage of that, you can get some opportunities.”

The Blue Dons (4-2) seemed to take advantage of every opportunity they got their hands on on the Alma Grace McDonough Center court.

Madonna finished the night shooting nearly 58 percent from the floor as they jumped out to a 20-7 lead midway through the second.

By halftime, Steubenville Catholic (2-9) faced a 15-point deficit and totaled as many points as Madonna sophomore Monica Bragg had with 11.

”We’re not a team that’s going to push the tempo, run and play fast,” Crusader coach Tom Winland said. ”We like to be slow, deliberate and work for a good shot. When we get behind, it takes us away from that.”

Steubenville Catholic had trouble finding a good shot all afternoon as it faced a stifling Blue Don defense that allowed the Crusaders to shoot only 6 of 34 from the floor.

”Early on we played good, solid half court defense,” Ogden said. ”That’s what keeps you in ball games.

”We had a good start and that’s real important against a team like Catholic because they play with a lot of intensity. If you let them play with that intensity, it’ll grow and you’ll be in trouble.”

Bragg finished with a game-high 13 points and went 7-for-7 from the free throw line. As a team, the Blue Dons finished 12 of 16 from the charity stripe.

”Monica is our girl,” Ogden said. ”She’s the one we go to in crunch time. There’s a lot of aspects of her game that are really good. She passes well, dribbles well. She does it all. She’s not selfish at all out there and sometimes that contributes to her not as scoring as much as she could.”

That and the fact the Blue Dons were up by as many as 21 in the second, causing Ogden to rest most of his starters during the final 16 minutes.

”It’s good and bad because you get a lot of playing time for (the bench),” he said. ”They get in the game, they get to experience a great tournament like this, but, on the other hand, your girls, did they get enough work? The one good thing is hopefully it saved our legs for (tonight).”

The Blue Dons will face Wheeling Central in the championship game at 7 tonight, while Steubenville Catholic and Bishop Donahue will meet in the consolation game at 4 p.m.