Red Knights lose late to Blue Dons

WEIRTON – Don Ogden expected the worst, but was set for the best.

When a fourth quarter, last-second shot went up, it felt like an eternity for the Madonna’s girls basketball coach.

“When the shot went up, I was preparing myself for the 3 to go in,” Ogden said after the Blue Dons second game of the year against Toronto.

“When it didn’t, we were real happy.”

With 5 seconds left, Monica Bragg hit a running jump shot in the lane to put Madonna up by two points and it held on for a 48-46 home victory.

“It’s a traditional Toronto-Madonna game,” Ogden said. “Down to the wire. Both teams played hard. Fortunately, we came out on top but Toronto played great and gave us their best shot. Toronto was just as deserving.”

Red Knights coach Mallory Blanton called a timeout as Lexie Berger was swiftly dribbling up court for a chance to tie it.

Blanton had 2.7 seconds to create some magic.

“We needed to slow it down and we had time to set something up on our side of the court,” she said.

A pass came inside to Lindsay Bodnar, who passed it outside to a streaking Berger. The point guard’s uncontested shot hit the rim, but bounced off as time expired.

“I had it drawn up differently at first, but then I realized we didn’t have enough time on the clock,” Blanton said. “It was almost in, it just didn’t fall through.”

Madonna led 36-34 after the third quarter, but Toronto (2-3) regained the lead on a Malaysia Harrison foul shot early in the fourth. The Red Knights lead grew to 44-40 with just over five minutes remaining in regulation when Bodnar hit Berger for a 10-foot shot.

Bodnar led Toronto with 15 points and Berger added 12.

“They have some great outside shooters,” Ogden said. “Berger and Bodnar are great for them.

“We thought they were going to go to them – they did – and both got good touches on the ball. They’re both equally dangerous.”

Madonna has its own scoring weapon with the versatile Bragg.

She scored 22 points, brought down 12 rebounds, had three assists, made two steals and swatted a pair of Red Knights’ shots.

“Monica does it all for us,” Ogden said. “She dribbles, she can score inside and she shoots well outside. She has a good presence any time she steps on the court.

“She plays great defense. One of the adjustments we made at halftime, we had her underneath so she can help out with rebounding.”

Two Bragg field goals on back to back possessions tied it at 44 at the 2:10 mark of the fourth. Then, off a Toronto miss, Bragg pushed the ball up to Rachel Grubbs who made an inside shot which put the Blue Dons (1-1) up by two before a pair of Berger foul shots would tie it again with 23 seconds remaining.

“They’re young but they’re good,” Blanton said of the senior-less Madonna team. “We knew that it was going to be tough and exciting from the very beginning.”

Grubbs added 10 points for the Blue Dons, who host Bridgeport on Thursday.

Mykia West, Katie Spadafora and Harrison scored five points for Toronto. The Red Knights face Jefferson County Christian at home on Thursday.

Madonna 48, Toronto 46

Toronto 11 14 9 12 – 46

Madonna 13 11 12 12 – 48

Toronto (2-3): Harrison 1 3-6 5, Berger 5 2-2 12, Bauman 2 0-2 4, Bodnar 5 4-4 15, West 2 1-2 5, Spadafora 2 1-1 5. TOTALS: 35 11-17 46. 3-pointers: Bodnar.

Madonna (1-1): Dowiak 1 1-2 3, Holt 2 0-0 4, Rosso 1 0-0 2, Grubbs 4 2-4 10, Bragg 7 7-7 22, Lammers 2 0-2 4, Lenhart 1 0-0 3. TOTALS: 18 10-15 48. 3-pointers: Bragg, Lenhart.