Madonna tops Trinity, advances to OVAC title

WEIRTON – Morgantown Trinity handed Madonna’s girls a 17-point loss in January. On Thursday at the Bill Barrett Gymnasium, the Lady Blue Dons got some revenge.

Katie Lammers delivered a critical free throw in overtime as Madonna earned a thrilling 39-38 win in the semifinals of the OVAC Class A Tournament. Don Ogden’s club, now 10-7, will face unbeaten and Ohio-ranked Conotton Valley in Saturday’s 5:30 p.m. title game at Ohio University Eastern.

The Rockets demolished Paden City 77-23 in Thursday’s other semifinal.

“To go from a 17-point loss to where we come back and win, I couldn’t be prouder of the girls,” Ogden said following the thrilling victory. “We can take a sense of satisfaction with us tonight but not necessarily a sense of accomplishment. We haven’t accomplished anything yet, we want to do that Saturday.

“During the last couple of weeks, I’ve been making the girls look at the banners in the gym and ask them where they are represented. We’re trying to use that as a driving force. This was our championship tonight because without winning, we couldn’t achieve our goal. Now we get to play for the real championship against a very good Conotton Valley team.”

Powered by the outside shooting of Megan Myers and the inside play of Jackie Halapy, the Warriors grabbed a 30-25 halftime lead. Myers drained three straight triples during the second frame. She finished the half with 13 points.

Halapy, meanwhile, scored 10 of the 30, eight coming from the paint.

Hoops by Peyton Konchesky and Halapy helped the visitors stretch their lead to nine (34-25) early in the third. Halapy drew her fourth foul during the stanza and that opened the door for a key Madonna scoring run.

Rachel Grubbs got the spurt going with two free throws. Becca Holt banked in a deuce after a steal on the defensive end and Isabella Rosso hit a jumper to make it 34-31. Grubbs swished another freebie before Holt drove the baseline for a bucket. Monica Bragg capped the 11-0 spurt by canning two from the line.

On the defensive end, Ogden’s Dons went to their man-to-man and shut down Trinity’s outside shooting game. Madonna led 36-34 heading into the fourth.

Defensive pressure and offensive patience were featured during the final eight minutes. Madonna led 38-34 after Bragg turned an offensive rebound into points. Konchesky scored twice to knot the score. Trinity had a good look late in regulation but Grubbs came through with a critical block to force overtime.

During the extra four minutes, each team had a chance to take the lead but couldn’t convert from the line. When fouled late, Lammers calmly knocked down her first of two attempts, giving Madonna the lead for good.

Madonna’s defense held Trinity to just eight points during the second half and the overtime. In addition, the Warriors were guilty of 27 turnovers (in its earlier loss to Trinity, Madonna turned it over 33 times).

“The last time we played, they hurt us when we played man to man,” Ogden stated. “But Myers was lighting it up from the outside so made the decision at halftime to go man. We told the girls they couldn’t let them have a set shot.

“Fortunately, our move paid off. The girls did a heck of a job adjusting defensively.”

Myers was held scoreless after the intermission.

“We made some adjustments at halftime,” Ogden explained when discussing the third quarter scoring burst. “The one offensive set we were running, they made a nice adjustment toward the end of the second quarter to stop it. I was just thinking if I can get to halftime, we can adjust. The girls responded well and really executed.

“We played good defense in the second half and a lot of our points came off the press and steals. Also, the girls were finishing their shots.”

Bragg recorded a double-double for Madonna (13 points and 10 rebounds). She also swatted away two shots. Lammers finished with eight and Grubbs seven. Point guard Cameron Dowiak doled out five assists. The Dons shot 28 free throws, but made just 13.

Trinity went to the line just eight times, making four. Konchesky grabbed 11 boards for the Warriors, now 10-5.

Madonna 39, Trinity 38

Trinity 15 15 4 4 0 – 38

Madonna 13 12 11 2 1 – 39

TRINITY (10-5): Myers 5 0-2 13; Evans 0 2-4 2; Triplett 1 0-0 3; Halapy 5 2-2 12; Barnett 0 0-0 0; Konchesky 3 0-0 6; Podolinski 0 0-0 0; Hill 1 0-0 2. TOTALS: 15 4-8 38. 3-pointers: Myers 3, Triplett; Rebounds 30 (Konchesky 11); Turnovers: 27.

MADONNA (10-7): Dowiak 0 0-4 0; Holt 2 0-0 4; Rosso 1 1-2 3; Grubbs 2 3-6 7; Platek 2 0-2 4; Bragg 3 7-9 13; Lammers 3 2-4 8. TOTALS: 13 13-28 39. 3-pointers: none; Rebounds: 30 (Bragg 10); Turnovers: 15.