Notre Dame Avenges Earlier Loss, Rolls Madonna

Blue Dons suffer through breakdown on defense

WEIRTON — Clarksburg Notre Dame raced out to an early lead and was never threatened as it got a revenge victory against Madonna on Wednesday night, 51-28, on the JoAnna Bernabei-McNamee Court inside the Bill Barrett Gymnasium.

For the third straight game, the Blue Dons hurt themselves with unforced turnovers (29 in the game) and couldn’t get the offense untracked. Madonna beat the Irish, 36-32, on Dec. 27 in Clarksburg. The loss puts Rodney Boniti’s club at 8-10.

“We played them once and watched film of another of their games. We knew what their tendencies and strengths were. Our defense simply broke down,” Boniti said. “Our girls played out of position, left their zones, didn’t see their reads and gave them open looks the entire first half. They capitalized on our mistakes.”

Junior Taylor Martino, the coach’s daughter, started out on fire, scoring all of Notre Dame’s first eight points to open the game.

“(Madonna) came down to our place, and the girls weren’t too happy about that loss,” Notre Dame (10-5) coach Bob Martino said. “They gave some effort (Wednesday). We have a good team when they give effort. When we don’t, we’re not very good.

“We’re not good enough basketball players just to show up. Our 1-3-1 defense was good. We were moving. I know Madonna is struggling. The coach’s daughter (Rachel Boniti) got hurt. She’s a good guard and that hurts them. Our situation is just the opposite. We lost our big girl. When that happened, we lost 16 points and eight rebounds a game.”

Because of that, the only statistic the Blue Dons excelled in was they had 31 rebounds to 22 for the Irish.

Martino got eight of Notre Dame’s 22 rebounds and led all scorers with 18. Senior Clare Cistaro backed her up with 16 points. Both Martino and Cistaro hit four 3-pointers.

“We shot well (Wednesday). When we lost to them at home, we hit only 11 of 50 shots,” said Martino, whose club has a date with unbeaten Parkersburg Catholic on Saturday.

Madonna senior Kasey Canei was the only Blue Don in double figures with 11 points, and she had six boards. Junior Andrea Alimario scored five points along with junior Gia Riccadonna. Alimario finished with 12 rebounds.

“In the second half, with Notre Dame having the lead (they were ahead 28-12 at halftime), we were forced to go man and, again, we just broke down,” Boniti said. “When we couldn’t put pressure on the ball, it gives their guards opportunities to do whatever they wanted, and their guards took advantage of passing lanes and kickouts.

“That probably was the first time all year we got beat back on layups. It was the first time we had given up fast break points. I was disappointed our girls just were not scrapping to get back.”

The Blue Dons travel to Magnolia (8-7) on Saturday before opening the OVAC Tournament at No. 1 seed Cameron (15-1) on Monday.