MCMECHEN - Lindsay Siburt hit for 17 points, while senior classmate Tara Paczewski collected 12 rebounds to go with her 10 tallies as visiting Cameron held off winless Bishop Donahue, 43-33, in the hard-fought contest between Marshall County small school rivals on Monday night.
Tied 22-22 at halftime, the Dragons scored the first six points of the third quarter and stayed in front the rest of the way to notch their second victory in three starts.
The Bishops, meanwhile, dropped to 0-3 on the season despite a solid effort from their pressure defense and 18 points from junior guard Selena Ghaphery. She was the hosts only double-figure scorer as next in line was Kelsey Schau with seven points.
''No doubt, Selena is a big-time shooter," pointed out Bishop Donahue coach Don Gillis. ''If she is open, she can stick it. We've been working with her to take the ball to the hole from the right side and the left side.
''We know we can count on her for some offense but I'd like to see us get some other people involved."
Cameron coach Joe Pettit, while relieved his team was able to escape the Father Raymond Jablinske Memorial Gymnasium on the positive end of the scoreboard, had plenty of good things to say about the Bishops' effort.
''Bishop brought the defensive intensity," Pettit said. "They pressured us and forced us to run our offense too high. When we ran it they way we were supposed to, we got good looks."
The difference, according to the Dragons coach, was his team's depth and rebounding edge inside.
''Donahue did a good job on defense but it was hard for them to dictate tempo the whole game,'' he said. ''We are a little deeper than them and we also did a good job on the boards."
With Paczewski and Neely Benline dominating underneath against the smaller Bishops, Cameron gained a 35-25 rebounding advantage. Neither team had a good shooting night, Cameron hitting just 15 of 43 shots while the hosts were only 10 of 39 from the floor.
Siburt scored seven points in the first 5 minutes of the game, enabling the Lady Dragons to jump in front 13-4. However, Ghaphery dropped in a three-ball and added a rebound bucket after chasing down her own missed shot to rally the Bishops to within 15-11 by the close of the quarter.
Four quick points from Ghaphery, including a pair from the foul line where she would convert seven of eight free throws overall, tied the score for the first time. Then, Ali Bauer's foul toss gave Donahue its only lead at 16-15. Paczewski's goal put Cameron back in front but the hosts twice rallied for deadlocks at 20-20 on Ghaphery's nice move to the basket and 22-22 when Kelsey Schau swished a one-hander just before the halftime break.
Both teams had trouble getting untracked early in the third quarter until Taylor Whipkey's putback at the 5:05 mark gave Cameron the lead to stay at 24-22. Paczewski's one-hander and Siburt's two-pointer that kissed high off the glass into the next extended the lead to six points.
Drawing fouls on two straight drives to the basket, Ghaphery made all four foul shots to cut the deficit to 28-26 only to see Cameron score the final seven points of the third quarter, three on Lexi Benline's swisher from the corner, a Paczewski stickback and Neely Benline's spin shot.
Trailing 35-26 entering the final eight minutes, Donahue got no closer than seven at 36-29 after a Schau three-pointer from deep in the corner. Neely Benline then put back another missed shot, followed by Siburt's triple that extended the lead to 41-29 and ended any further comeback hopes by the Bishops.
Gillis explained that his team came into last night's game with intentions of stepping up the intensity on defense.
''The last couple days in practice, we paid a lot of attention to hustling and playing harder at the defensive end," he said.
''We watched the boys play the other night against Cameron and saw how hard they played. I told them this is what we want to do. I thought we did a lot better than our first two games but they just killed us with that big girl underneath."