Madonna Holds Off Central

Photo by Kyle Lutz Madonna’s Tavon Jeter (1) dribbles the ball while Wheeling Central’s Adam Jarrett defends.

WHEELING — Madonna coach Chris Blair knew that any game against Wheeling Central wasn’t going to be easy. He also knew that no lead against the Maroon Knights was safe. However, his Blue Dons squad held off a furious comeback by the Maroon Knights during the Undo’s-Main Street Bank Holiday Tournament.

Madonna held an 18-point lead, but Wheeling Central played a strong second half and got within two points. A pair of clutch free throws by Joey Ewusiak with five seconds left put the game on ice and the Blue Dons came away with a 73-68 victory for the championship.

“What a terrific game,” Blair said. “I want to congratulate my team. I’m really proud of their effort. I’m really proud of how hard they worked because it takes a tremendous amount of work to come to a tournament like this and play a team like that and come out victorious.

“We know you can’t beat (Wheeling Central) in the first half.  It’s going to take a 32 full minutes. Not 31 minutes and 59 seconds. We preached that and we preached we wanted a quick start.”

The Blue Dons took the lead for good late in the first quarter after going on a 5-0 spurt to put the score at 14-10.

The lead grew to as many as 13 in the first half after Chase Debartoomeo stole the ball on an inbound pass and put the ball in the bucket to put the score at 38-25 with 1:51 left until halftime.

Tavon Jeter had a brilliant first half going for 20 points. He finished with 31 points and made some clutch free throws in the fourth when it was needed for his team.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever been more proud of a guy than Tavon Jeter,” Blair said. “We’ve been on him pretty good. He’s capable of doing that. He needs to have that performance constantly. He’s a heckuva talent and we challenge him to really be aggressive and go get it.”

The Blue Dons lead hit 18 with 5:03 left in the third, but Wheeling Central made a small run to get back within 13 after a Brent Price conventional three-point play, 50-37 with 4:12 left in the third.

Ewusiak hit a jumper for the first points of the fourth quarter to put the Blue Dons lead back to 18 at 63-45. That’s when Central made its run. A 9-0 spurt cut the lead to 63-54 after Bray Price hit two free throws with 2:30 left.

Jeter then had a layup on a fast break to put the lead back to double digits. After the Blue Dons missed a pair of free throws, Brent Price and John Burkhalter scored six straight Maroon Knight points to get within five, 65-60.

The lead was cut to three on another Price basket, 68-65 with 51 seconds. With the Maroon Knights having to foul, Jeter hit two free throws to put the score at 70-65. Bray Price then hit a 3-pointer to put the score at 70-68 with 34 seconds left.

“They showed a lot of heart and character there,” Maroon Knights coach Mel Stephens said about the comeback. “We just dug ourselves in too deep of a hole against a really good team. We were one play away. We were down three and if we could knock down a 3 and tie it up. Who knows if we could go from there. (Madonna) just played harder than we did and did what they had to do. They got all the lose balls and got offensive rebounds.”

The Blue Dons gave the Maroon Knights one more shot after hitting one of two fouls shots with 26 seconds left. But the Maroon Knights couldn’t convert and Ewusiak hit two free throws with five seconds left after missing two earlier in the quarter to put the game away.

Ewusiak had 15 points for the Blue Dons while Debartoomeo netted 12.

For the Maroon Knights, Brent Price led the way with 23 points while Bray Price and Burkhalter had 13. Gabe Rohmann secured 12 points.

“Hopefully we learn from this,” Stephens said. “We can’t get that far behind. We got to play a little bit tougher. We have to get the 50-50 balls and got to get some offensive rebounds and control the defensive end. We can’t give them extra chances. But they definitely deserved the one (Wednesday).”

Consolation Game

Bishop Donahue 83, Magnolia 81, OT

WHEELING — Bishop Donahue held off Magnolia in the consolation game.

The Blue Eagles rallied from a 13-point first-half deficit to force overtime. This time the Bishops had to play a little catch up and took the lead in the winding seconds.

Tyler Williamson, while guarded, tried for the game-winning 3-pointer. The ball hit the backboard rattled the front of the rim and went off the side of the board as time expired.

Taylor Straughn led the  way for the Bishops as he recorded a game-high 39 points, followed by Anthony Robbins who collected 12 and Koltin Kleeh with 11.

Williamson led the Eagles with 30 points with Leo Herrick adding 19 and Nick Priem finishing with 11.

South Harrison 74, Valley 67

LOST CREEK — South Harrison tied the game with just seconds left in the fourth quarter and upended visiting Valley in overtime.

Valley (3-3) was led in the overtime loss by Alex Midcap who scored 26 points, while Levi Streets turned in 12 and Peyton Bassett added 11.

Camden Barnett bucketed 30 points for South Harrison (5-6) to lead the way, with Brenton Barnett supplying 19 and Logan Peck scoring 14.

Steubenville 54

Martins Ferry 46

STEUBENVILLE – Alec Davis scored a game-high 18 points and Charles Reeves added 17 as Steubenville (3-2) handed Martins Ferry its first loss during the Chuck Watt/John Nese Basketball Classic.

Zac Shelby led the Purple Riders (5-1) with 14 points.

Girls

Bellaire 63, River 54

HANNIBAL — Michaela Flaherty led Bellaire to its 11th win of the year with 19 points as it topped host River.

Cierra Davis provided 12 points and Katrina Davis added 10 for Bellaire (11-1).

River (5-6) was led by Alli Long who delivered a double-double with 15 rebounds and 12 points, followed by Lauren Flannery who scored 22 points and Bailey Caldwell who garnered 14 points.

Wheeling Park 59, Ripley 30

RIPLEY — Wheeling Park outscored host Ripley 21-7 in the first quarter en route to a Ripley Holiday Tournament championship.

Park was led by Josie Daugherty and Kirstin Hartman who each drained five 3-pointers and finished with 15 points.

Ripley was led by 10 points from Presley Fisher.

Malvern 74

Harrison Central 48

CADIZ — Visiting Malvern outscored Harrison Central 22-8 in the opening frame and rolled past the Huskies.

Madison Doty paced Harrison with 21 points and Morgan Carter added seven.

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