Maroon Knights topple Dons
WEIRTON – Four players did all the scoring Saturday night as Wheeling Central rolled to a 73-51 victory over Madonna before a full house at the Dube Dome.
Alonzo Manns led the Maroon Knight point parade with 22 (14 coming in the second half). David Park finished with a double-double (19 points and 18 boards). Chase Harler contributed 17 and Boyd Bibey knocked down 15, all coming via the three-ball.
“It was a good team win for us,” said Central coach Mel Stephens. “We came into this week looking at three really big games and we were fortunate to come out on top in all three (the Knights earlier whipped Parkersburg Catholic and Charleston Catholic). It’s been a good week for us.
“David and Chase are usually going to get theirs. We are always looking for that third or fourth guy and tonight they (Manns and Bibey) stepped up. It would have been nice to have a few other guys chip in a few points somewhere.”
The Blue Dons, now 9-4, jumped out to an early 6-2 lead as Ross Comis drained three in a row. Central responded with a 9-0 run (Bibey capped the spurt with his first trifecta). A Park hoop put the Knights up 17-15 after one.
Central outscored the hosts 10-2 to start the second, building a double-digit advantage and never looking back. Stephens’ cagers held a 37-27 lead at the break.
After Comis’ hoops, Madonna had a tough time finding the bottom of the net. During the opening half, George Vargo’s club took 37 shots from the floor but made just 11. The shooting woes continued during the last two periods and the Dons finished 19 for 61.
“The game got emotional after that (Comis’ buckets),” Vargo explained. “Then the technical foul (called against a Blue Don) followed. Once that happened, I think we lost of our composure for a few minutes and they got an instant scoring run. You can’t do that against a good team and we did – we lost our composure.”
Manns scored eight points from close range in the third quarter and added six more in the fourth.
“When (Josh) Martin got into a little bit of foul trouble, we thought we had a little advantage inside,” Stephens noted. “There have been games when we felt the same way but we didn’t execute and the ball in to him. Tonight, we did a good job of finding him and getting him the ball inside where he could score.”
To their credit, Madonna closed to within 10 (53-43) after three. Nate Mazur drilled a triple and Comis laid one in after a steal by Nate Guio. He was fouled in the process and completed the three-point play.
The Knights regrouped and outscored Madonna 20-8 during the final stanza. Bibey and Harler added six points each to the Central total.
“All of our players contributed tonight,” said Stephens. “We sat down and guarded them pretty well on the defensive end. Comis got 20 and we consider that a victory to hold him to 20. We kind of held everyone else in check.”
Comis scored 14 of his team-high total during the first half. He also finished with six assists. Freshman Joey Ewusiak chipped in with nine. Guio collected 12 rebounds to pace Madonna.
“We got beat by a very good basketball team,” Vargo stated. “They shot the ball well (Central hit 45 percent of its field goal tries) and we couldn’t stop their four top gunners. We knew those guys were going to score and all four did exactly what we knew they were going to do.
“We couldn’t find a way to stop them.
“We played hard. At times, we weren’t patient enough on offense. Our young guys tried to get us back into the game too quick with the three. I hope we learned from that. Mel and his crew played an outstanding game.”
Central hoisted 18 free throw tries, canning 15. Madonna was 10 of 14 from the stripe. There were 40 fouls called during the contest.
Both teams return to action Tuesday. Central, 11-3, will entertain Shadyside while Madonna is set to host Oak Glen.