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Donahue Boys Wallops St. John

Bishops too big, strong for young Fighting Irish

December 14, 2011
By TRACY WATSON , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

McMECHEN - On paper, Tuesday night's boys' basketball game between Bishop Donahue and Bellaire St. John looked like a major mismatch.

On the court, it was even worse.

Coach Tom Wise's high-powered Bishops offense took control early with big runs and managed to get all 14 players on the roster plenty of playing time against the inexperienced and small Fighting Irish.

Senior Austin Ghaphery tallied 24 points in limited play and Donahue had first-half runs of 12-0 and 28-2 in rolling to a 106-26 thrashing of St. John.

The victory moved Wise's crew to 2-0 early in the campaign with a trip to Valley up next on Friday night. Meanwhile, first-year Coach Jim Miller watched his squad dip to 0-4.

"There was no question, we knew coming in that this was going to be a challenge, and it has been," Miller said. "I am sure the Irish community, parents and fans want more, but right now these kids are giving everything have."

Leading 4-2, the Bishops used their first spurt to pull out to a 16-2 advantage and led 20-7 with 3:57 to go in the first. From there, they used an 18-2 run to go up 38-9 after one, and then scored the initial 10 points of the second quarter for a 48-9 score.

The margin grew to 66-19 at halftime and ballooned to 88-19 with a third-quarter opening, 22-0 burst.

It was 95-21 after three quarters with Donahue going past the 100-point barrier on a Saquan Finley basket with 5:50 to play that made it 101-21.

"I have been where he (Miller) is right now," Wise said. "I have had the seven player roster and had scores like that against me, and I know it is tough.

"But give that team credit, they played as hard as they possibly could all the way through and you have to admire that. Jim is a very good coach and he will get that team built up and I wish him all the best in doing it.

"Our guys were very unselfish out there and ran the floor very well. I am very happy at how effective we played and that is a very positive thing. We had a lot of younger kids get quality minutes, but we are an older team.

"I have 14 kids on this roster that can all play, and sometimes it is hard not to push the ball with them."

Getting mostly layups off Fighting Irish turnovers, the Bishops' starting five was a sizzling 29 of 39 from the floor for just under 75 percent. Donahue also made more field goals in the first quarter (17) than St. John's had for the game (nine). The hosts also had more field goals in the game (47) than the Irish had shot attempts (42).

Along the way, the Bishops grabbed a commanding 42-15 lead off the glass and turned the ball over 18 times to 37 for their guests.

D.T. Meeker added 16 for Bishop Donahue, Wylie Koontz had 14 and Cody Ballard chipped in with 10. John Alvey, Michael Gregorcic and Garrett Holubek had five each for the Irish.

"These kids fought hard to the end and never gave up," Miller added. "I know that our older kids are getting frustrated, but our younger kids are very hungry. I never said this would be easy, we have to find a way to change the culture and what has been done here."

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