WEIRTON - St. John Central broke open a close game with a big third quarter and coasted to a 49-34 victory Saturday afternoon over the Madonna girls at the Bill Barrett Gymnasium.
Coach Bubba Kapral's quintet was ahead 21-18 at the half, but turned it on in the third period outscoring the Lady Blue Dons 18-6. The Lady Irish finished the period with an 11-2 run.
"They're (Madonna) playing well," said Kapral, whose team recorded its 11th win in 17 games . "They made some real nice shots early on, but that third quarter is about as good a quarter as we've played in a long time."
The loss was Madonna's second in a row and makes its next three games pivotal for making the OVAC Class A playoffs.
With senior Nicolette Sellitti swishing two threes early, the Blue Dons earned a 14-12 lead after one quarter.
The Dons increased the lead to 16-12 as Cameron Dowiak hit a jumper, but the Lady Irish scored seven straight points and seemingly got the momentum going before an Amy Davis layup stopped the run.
Bellaire St. John 49, Madonna 34
St. John Central 12 9 18 10 - 49
Madonna 14 4 6 10 - 34
ST. JOHN CENTRAL: Russell 6 1-4 14, Coppa 3 1-1 8, Rose 4 2-2 12, Froehlich 1 2-2 4, Alvey 3 0-0 6, DeLuca 2 1-2 5. Totals: 19 7-11 49. 3-pointers: Rose (2), Russell, Coppa; Rebounds: 32 (Russell, 11); Turnovers: 10.
MADONNA: Dowiak 2 0-4 4, Rosso 1 0-0 2, Sellitti 2 2-2 8, Platek 1 0-0 2, Davis 4 0-0 8, Bragg 1 4-5 6, Grubbs 0 2-2 2, Lammers 1 0-0 2, Kotten 0 0-2 0. Totals: 12 8-15 34. 3-pointers: Sellitti (2); Rebounds: 29 (Bragg, 9); Turnovers: 22.
"We hung in well early, but toward the end of the first half we started getting undisciplined with our defense and committing some silly fouls," said Madonna coach Don Ogden. "In the second half it just seemed like we were out of sync.
"We had no continuity. Toward the end we had to take some chances and Bellaire St. John made us pay for it."
Madonna's second half effort wasn't helped any by Sellitti getting into foul trouble. She sat out part of the second quarter and a lot of the third. She fouled out just 18 seconds into the fourth stanza.
Madonna seniors Sellitti and Davis finished with eight points apiece.
"One of our big Achilles heel is taking care of the basketball," Kapral explained. "Against Toronto we had 41 turnovers. We took much better care of the ball today. We played about as well as we can in the second half against a very good ball club. Don Ogden runs a very good program."
The Lady Irish had only seven turnovers until late in the game when Kapral inserted his reserves. They finished with 10.
Kapral said he challenged his team a little more at halftime and ratcheted up the defense. It resulted in Madonna committing 22 turnovers.
Kristen Russell led the Irish with a double-double. The senior scored 14 points and pulled down 11 rebounds. She was followed by freshman Marissa Rose's 12 points.
Freshman Monica Bragg finished with six points and led the Blue Dons on the boards with nine rebounds. She also had five blocked shots.