For the News-Register
ST. CLAIRSVILLE - A cold, snowy morning outside turned into a cold day of shooting for the No. 3 seed Madonna girls' basketball team as it dropped a 47-37 decision to No. 1-seeded Morgantown Trinity in the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Class 1A championship game Saturday at Ohio University Eastern. The victory marked the first OVAC crown for Coach Cary Woods' Warriors.
''It's a very humbling experience to come in here and do that,'' Woods said. ''The OVAC has such a storied history due to the competition level here.''
Added Madonna coach Don Ogden: ''We knew going into this game that it was going to be a tough competition with a quality team that's undefeated and ranked in the state. The girls gave a galliant effort and I couldn't be prouder of them.
''They played well enough to win, but unfortunately Trinity played better.''
The Blue Dons struggled to get the ball to fall in the hoop for a majority of the action, shooting 9-for-56 from the field, including 2-for-15 from behind the 3-point arc.
''I think Trinity was doing a good job of coming out on us and I also think we had a hard time finding our rhythm offensively,'' Ogden said. ''I thought we had good shots. I had no problem with any of the shots we took as far as selection. You have those days where those shots don't fall and days where they're going to go in.
''(Saturday) they didn't."
Things started slowly for both teams. Madonna scored the game's first three points, but failed to score again for the rest of the opening quarter. Trinity took the lead, but could only muster seven points in the quarter.
The second quarter looked much like the first only with Trinity holding a slight early advantage only to watch Madonna score the last six points to leave the game tied at 11-11 at halftime. Amy Davis led the Blue Dons in the first half with six points while Tara Neely and Haley Triplett scored four each to lead the Warriors.
The third quarter belonged to Trinity as the girls from Morgantown doubled up Madonna 16-8 in the quarter. Emily Meyers for Trinity and Isabella Anile for Madonna led their respective teams with four each and the score read 27-19 after three.
Madonna made things interesting in the fourth quarter.
With 5:53 left Anile knocked down two free throws to make the score 31-26. The first of those gave Anile the milestone of 1,000 points for her career.
''Certainly it's a great accomplishment for her as an individual, but I'm certain right now she'd trade that 1,000 points for a victory,'' Ogden said. ''I'm pretty confident she'd give credit to all her supporting cast this year and the years prior because it takes a lot to get to 1,000 points.
''It takes rebounds and assists so she's the face of that 1,000 points, but I'm sure she'd agree it was a team contribution.''
Madonna forced a turnover on the ensuing inbounds pass following Anile's trip to the free-throw line and Lisa Parkins converted it into two points, cutting the lead to three at 31-28 and forcing the Warriors to call a timeout.
''We're pretty confident, we don't care who we play,'' Ogden said of his team's ability to make a run at the No. 3 team in the state of West Virginia Class A. ''That's why we played the No. 1 team in the state and I think No. 6 team in the state also. We're pretty confident. We think we can beat anybody.