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Madonna cruises to sectional final, 56-30

Vanessa Alatis

WEIRTON — The first step on the road to Charleston is complete.

The No. 2 seed Madonna girls basketball team is headed to the sectional finals after defeating No. 3 seed Valley, 56-30, in a West Virginia Class A Region 1 Section 1 semifinal Tuesday night. 

“Overall, the girls played very well,” Madonna (8-7) head coach Cory Wingett said. “Our defense was extremely solid. We held them to 15 points in the first half. I was proud of our rotation, of our rebounding, our communication and our effort going after the ball. We have started having a knack of creating steals, and any time we create turnovers, it is an advantage for us.”

The win was Madonna’s third this season against Valley (3-11).

With the win, Madonna has advanced to play No. 1 seed Cameron (15-1) in the sectional finals Friday night on the road. Both teams have qualified for the regional tournament.

“We are going to have to be mentally prepared and play with the confidence we have played with in the last seven games,” Wingett said. “We want to continue that success. We want to keep playing well.”

The Dragons have defeated the Blue Dons, 51-47 (in OT) and 57-44. 

Vanessa Alatis tallied a game-high 17 points to lead the way for Madonna. Jazzy Melnyk collected 13 points and Alaina Moore recorded 11.

“Our coaches truly believe if we get three girls in double figures out of our top seven, eight or nine, we have a good chance of winning the game,” Wingett said. “Anna Backel has a knack of creating steals. That has propelled us. We played well in the second half.

“The girls deserve all of the credit. They were mentally prepared. They accomplished their goal. They came out and competed tonight.

Rachel Bates delivered 10 points to lead the way for Valley, while Shyanne Moore added eight.

The Blue Dons raced out to the early lead, 14-7, at the end of the first, and the hosts extended their advantage to 29-15 at halftime. Madonna outscored Valley, 20-7 to take a 49-22 lead into the fourth. 

“The two teams that won (Tuesday) get a mulligan in the next round,” Wingett said. “If we do not come out on the upper hand Friday night, we will travel to the winner of Region 2.

“Our assistant coaches are already talking back and forth. We are going to try and come up with a game plan to control Cameron. We want to come up with a game plan that changes Cameron’s style of play, and come up with one that gives us the best shot at winning. The coaches are extremely proud of these young ladies. They deserve everything they have gotten so far this season. We pray that there are more experiences coming their way.”

The game was the final one for Valley’s two seniors in McKinlee Yoho and Bates.

Madonna 56, Valley 30

Valley 7 8 7 8 — 30

Madonna 14 15 20 7 — 56

VALLEY (3-11): Higgins 3 0-2 6, Moore 4 0-0 8, Barnette 0 0-0 0, R. Bates 4 0-2 10, Basett 3 0-0 6, Booher 0 0-0 0, C. Bates 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 13, 2-6: 30.

MADONNA (8-7): L. Bain 1 0-0 2, Pietranton 0 0-0 0, Backel 1 0-0 2, Battista 1 0-0 2, McCoy 0 0-0 0, Wingett 0 0-0 0, Bine 0 0-0 0, O. Bain 1 0-0 2, Melnyk 6 0-2 13, Sole 0 0-0 0, Alatis 6 3-3 17, Moore 4 3-6 11, Lenhart 0 0-0 0, Martinez 3 0-0 6, Yacos 0 1-4 1. TOTALS: 23, 7-15: 56.

3-POINTERS: Valley 2 (R. Bates 2); Madonna 3 (Alatis 2, Melnyk)

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