Maroon Knights defeat Dons

WHEELING – Along with her teammates, junior Regan Blaha struggled mightily from the floor for Wheeling Central during the first half of Saturday night’s girls Undo’s Upper Ohio Valley Basketball Tournament championship game against sectional rival Weirton Madonna.

However, the second half was a totally different story as Blaha took control, 12 of her game-high 20 points in the fourth quarter, and helped direct the Maroon Knights to another late December tournament title.

Trailing by four at the break, Wheeling Central scored the initial 15 points of the third quarter, weathered another storm, and pulled away late to capture a 47-35 triumph over the Blue Dons at Wheeling Jesuit University’s Alma Grace McDonough Center.

Head Coach Don Ogden’s Madonna squad actually led 9-7 after one and 20-16 at the half, even though the Blue Dons had turned the ball over 13 times. Central was unable to capitalize, hitting just 7 of 35 shots from the field over the first 16 minutes of play.

But it got even sloppier for Weirton Madonna in the third, turning the ball over five times in the first minute as the Maroon Knights rattled off nine unanswered points and took a 25-20 advantage.

Things only got worse for the Dons, who eventually tailed 31-20 when the blast was over. But not only did they lose the ball eight times in that stretch, they also lost sophomore Monica Bragg to an injury at the 6:19 mark.

Ogden’s crew never gave up, dropping in the final nine markers of the chapter and cutting the deficit to 31-29 after three. It was still a 39-35 Knights’ lead at 2:34, however, Central tallied the final eight points of the contest.

Blaha capped an outstanding game with 20 points and 12 rebounds, missing only two shots in the second half, while Lindsey Baker and Mackenzi Michaels finished with six apiece.

Junior Rebecca Holt paced the Blue Dons with 13.