WELLSBURG - The Madonna girls' basketball team escaped Brooke County with a win.
The Blue Dons led by as many as 16 points early in the third quarter before Brooke rallied to within four points late in the game. Monica Bragg delivered some much-needed foul shots down the stretch as the Blue Dons held on to defeat the Bruins, 49-39, Wednesday night at Brooke.
"We emphasized at halftime that though we had a nice lead Brooke was not going to lie down," Madonna (5-4) head coach Don Ogden said. "If anything, they were going to play harder. The second half was true to form.
CHECKING THE FLOOR -- Madonna’s Cameron Dowiak dribbles at the top of the key.
-- Matthew Peaslee
"We had a good lead, and it came down to foul shots. For a while, we were not looking too good from the foul line, but we were able to make some clutch shots."
Brooke (2-6) got off to a slow start, and the Bruins were unable to fully recover from it.
"Our girls haven't done anything in the last three days," Brooke head coach Ryan Scherich said. "With school being closed, they weren't able to do any activities. They weren't able to practice. They weren't able to run. That hurt us in the first half. We didn't have our legs. We got our legs in the second half.
"We were down by 16, and we aren't the type of team equipped to come back from a deficit like that. When we give a team a 16-point lead, that is asking a lot of our girls to try and come back."
Bragg recorded a team-high 19 points to lead the way. Bragg converted 10 of 11 shots from the free throw line, including making 9 of 10 in the fourth quarter.
"Coach (Amy) Serevicz and I said we didn't want to foul Bragg, but when we fouled it all seemed like the ball was in her hands," Scherich said. "She made the foul shots at the end."
Junior Angela Staffileno, who surpassed the 1,000-point mark earlier this season, finished with a game-high 25 points to lead the way for the Bruins.
"Staffileno was the player she is," Ogden said. "When they need her, she steps up and scores.
"We made some adjustments, and we got the win. Brooke just didn't quit."
Madonna jumped out to a 12-4 lead after the first quarter, and the girls from Hancock County extended their lead to 24-10 at halftime.
"We didn't have our legs in the first half," Scherich said. "With the temperature being minus-9, and they were not able to be outside. We weren't able to get our legs. The girls didn't pick up a ball for three days.
"Madonna is a good team, and they have good enough players who were able to handle the ball. They made key plays down the stretch."
In the third quarter, a three-point play by Bragg put the Blue Dons out in front, 27-11, and the visitors maintained a double-digit lead the remainder of the quarter. A 3-pointer by Preston pulled Brooke to within 33-22 heading into the fourth quarter.
The Bruins chipped away at their deficit in the fourth quarter.
Brooke scored the first six points of the stanza to pull within 33-28.
Later, with the score 41-35, Payge Farmer was fouled attempting a 3-pointer with 1:14 left to play resulting in three free throws. Farmer made the first two, but she missed the third one. After getting the rebound, the Bruins missed three straight shots from the field on the possession, and the Blue Dons were able to put the game away at the charity stripe.
"We are still learning game situations," Ogden said. "Even though this was our ninth game of the year, we are still learning game situations. There is a learning process."
Both teams are scheduled to return to the court today at home. Madonna will play Catholic Central, while Brooke will play University.
Madonna 49, Brooke 39
Madonna 12 12 9 16 - 49
Brooke 4 6 12 17 - 39
MADONNA (5-4): Dowiak 1 4-11 6, Holt 4 0-0 8, Rosso 2 0-1 6, R. Grubbs 3 0-0 6, Platek 0 0-0 0, Bragg 3 10-11 19, L. Grubbs 0 0-0 0, Lammers 2 0-0 4. Totals: 16 14-23 49. 3-Pointers: Rosso 2, Bragg.
BROOKE (2-6): Wensyel 0 0-0 0, Farmer 0 2-5 2, Velegol 1 0-0 2, Altobell 0 0-0 0, Hinerman 2 0-0 5, Preston 2 0-0 5, D'Ulisse 0 0-0 0, Staffileno 9 6-9 25. Totals: 14 8-14 39. 3-Pointers: Farmer, Hinerman, Staffileno.