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Cheering on the Blue Dons

A late run in a season that has been like no other has helped to lift the Weirton Madonna girls basketball team to a spot among the top programs in the state.

The Blue Dons fought back from a slow start, winning seven of their last nine games, to earn a spot in West Virginia’s Class A state tournament.

They’ll open play at 1 p.m. Tuesday when they meet Cameron in Charleston.

This year’s season has been challenging for players and coaches as West Virginia teams have had to navigate through restrictions and protocols brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Those included a delayed start to the season, which finally got underway the first week in March, nearly three months later than the usual early December start.

First-year coach Cory Wingett and his staff saw their team open the season at 2-6 before things turned around. The squad’s run to close the season included a 34-32 win over Weir High on March 26, a victory that gave the Blue Dons the city championship.

Now, Madonna is poised for its first appearance in the state tournament since 2016. The opponent in the opening round is a familiar one — the Dragons, who are 16-1, have defeated the Blue Dons three times this season, most recently on April 16, when they took a 53-43 win in the sectional title game.

Advancing to the state tournament has required a a lot of hard work and determination, efforts that have not gone unnoticed and have helped to make the season memorable.

“They deserve every memory they create,” Wingett said of his team, pointing to the city title and Wednesday’s win.

” … we hope we can create more,” he added.

We share those sentiments, and wish the Blue Dons well as they compete in the state tournament.

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