WEIRTON - The Weirton Madonna boys basketball team employed an on-the-spot box-and-one and it worked Tuesday night.
Oak Glen senior point guard Matt McLaughlin scored eight points, including a three at the buzzer, to lead the Golden Bears to a 17-11 cushion over the Blue Dons after eight minutes.
Thanks to that box-and-one, McLaughlin never scored again and Madonna eventually earned a 59-54 victory inside the Dube Dome.
IN FOR TWO — Weirton Madonna’s Josh Martin goes up for two between Oak Glen’s Matt McLaughlin, left, and Taylor Kincaid during the third quarter of Tuesday’s 59-54 win by the Blue Dons inside the Dube Dome.
-- Mike Mathison
"Assistant coach Chris Blair came up with that and drew it up in the huddle," said veteran Madonna mentor George Vargo. "The guys did well with it. We hadn't practiced it at all.
"Our three guards - Will Bowser, Caleb Baire and Anthony Antinone - were all on their point guard. But, I think Bowser was on him the most, I would say about 75 percent. Credit to him.
"Credit to all of our guards for working hard on him.
"That was huge for us. We were able to shut down McLaughlin."
Oak Glen coach Dave Smith, back for his second stint on the bench, saw a team that didn't take advantage of its opportunities.
"We got the ball where we wanted while they were using the box-and-one," said Smith. "It's not like the pressure took that away from us. When you have shots, you have to make them.
"The problem with boxes-and-one is that you can't defend the whole floor. With us, we don't shoot the ball well, so it's probably a good defense against us.
"I'm sure we'll see it in the sectional game and I don't blame them.
"If the offense is run right and we're trying to screen for him (McLaughlin) and pop off of it, he should get more touches," said Smith. "We've run a box against other teams and if you run it right defensively, that person shouldn't get the ball, or they are working their tail off to get it.
"They took him out of the game. We don't have another point guard. We have a scorekeeper who's a good point guard, but, other than that, we don't have another one."
A Tyler Ewusiak bucket gave Madonna a 54-49 lead with 1:53 to go. Nate Guio netted two free throws for a 56-49 Blue Dons advantage at the 1:18 mark.
Oak Glen's Tyler Click buried his third trey of the night to put his squad down 56-52 with 69 seconds remaining.
Teammate Kyle Woodruff hit a jumper to close within 56-54 with 32.4 showing.
After a timeout, Guio hit Ewusiak with a home run layup for a 58-54 lead with 26 seconds to go.
After an Oak Glen miss, Guio canned 1 of 2 from the line for the final score.
"Our guards did a good job in the second half finding the mismatches," said Vargo. "They did a good job of getting the ball low on the block to Josh (Martin) and Tyler and Nate.
"We have some big guys out there who our guard can find. But, it all has to be the guards. The guards have to get them the ball. That's what our guards have to do."
Martin scored seven of his nine points in the third quarter as the hosts outscored the visitors 15-9 for a 40-37 lead.
"We had some bright spots tonight, whether it was the box-and-one, Martin scoring in the paint or running that special play for Tyler for the home run pass that worked. Those kind of things are encouraging as a coach," Vargo said.
"But, when they miss foul shot after foul shot after foul shot, especially in the fourth quarter to put the game away, that is discouraging. Plus, we're not basketball-wise yet."
Oak Glen also committed too many unforced errors.
"We have a tendency to do that a good bit," said Smith. "We had six turnovers in the first half and 13 more in the second half. It's just not a good thing."
Madonna 59, Oak Glen 54
Oak Glen 17 12 8 17 - 54
Madonna 11 14 15 19 - 59
OAK GLEN: Howell 3 8-10 14, Click 5 1-2 14, McLaughlin 3 1-1 8, Woodruff 3 2-2 8, McGraw 3 1-2 7, Kincaid 1 0-0 2, Ford 0 1-2 1, Smith 0 0-0 0, Sprott 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 28 14-19 54. 3-pointers: Click 3, McLaughlin.
MADONNA: Ewusiak 6 2-3 14, Guio 3 6-10 12, Martin 4 1-1 9, Carnes 3 0-2 7, Bowser 2 3-4 5, Baire 1 0-4 3, Retton 1 0-0 2, Stakias 1 1-3 4, Jeter 0 0-0 0, Antinone 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 21 14-29 59. 3-pointers: Baire, Stakias, Carnes.