Bears come up short against Madonna, 59-54

WEIRTON – Oak Glen senior point guard Matt McLaughlin led the Golden Bears with eight first-quarter points and a 17-11 lead over host Weirton Madonna after eight minutes thanks to a three he hit at the buzzer.

McLaughlin never scored again.

The Blue Dons employed an on-the-spot box-and-one and eventually earned a 59-54 victory Tuesday evening in the Dube Dome.

“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 hadnt 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 his the most, I would say about 75 percent. Credit to him.

“Credit to all of our guards for working hard on him.”

For Oak Glen coach Dave Smith, back for his second stint on the bench, he saw a team that didnt take advantage of its opportunities.

“We got the ball where we wanted,” 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 dont 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.”

Madonna’s defense left others open and Tyler Click and Cody Howell split 28 points. Click buried a trio of treys, including one of his two in the fourth quarter that put his squad down 56-52 1:09 remaining.

“If the offense is run right and were 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 that’s a good point guard, but, other than that, we don’t have another one.”

Behind seven points from big man Josh Martin, the Blue Dons outscored the visitors 15-8 in the third quarter to take a 40-37 lead.

Tyler Ewusiak scored eight of his 14 points in the the final eight minutes to hold off Oak Glen’s rally.

His home run layup from Nate Guoi put the game away for Madonna at 58-54 with 26 seconds to go.

That came after Kyle Woodruff canned a jumper to pull Oak Glen within 56-54 with 32.5 unplayed.

“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 and Tyler and Nate.

“That’s what our guards have to do.”