WEIRTON - A handful of Madonna girls basketball players, including starting point guard Cameron Dowiak, have been suffering from flu-like symptoms.
Becca Holt, who filled in for Dowiak during Thursday's 41-31 win over Catholic Central, knows the key to staying healthy.
"Coach always says to wash your hands," Holt said, laughing.
UP FOR TWO — Steubenville Catholic Central’s Hannah Ondos is surrounded by defenders from Weirton Madonna during the second half of Thursday’s 41-31 Blue Dons victory inside the Bill Barrett Gymnasium.
-- Matthew Peaslee
TAKING A SHOT — Weirton Madonna’s Monica Bragg takes a shot between Steubenville Catholic Central defenders Michaela Torrance (10) and Nicole Virtue during Thursday’s 41-31 victory by the Blue Dons inside the Bill Barrett Gymnasium.
-- Matthew Peaslee
Her clean palms lead to sticky fingers as the sophomore created four steals, scored four points, had two assists and even recorded a block against the Crusaders.
"I've been point guard before, so I was comfortable with it," Holt said. "I just knew I had to take control and be confident."
Blue Dons coach Don Ogden felt his team didn't miss a beat.
"In this situation, when you lose your main ballhandler, it's not easy," Ogden said. "But Becca did a fine job, as did Courtney Kaczmarek when she came in. It was a typical game and the girls gave a great effort."
Madonna (6-4) never trailed and went up 17-6 with 2:52 remaining in the second quarter when Holt was fouled during a successful lay up attempt. It led 19-6 at halftime, only allowing one Central field goal by Micca Mirabella in the second quarter.
"Our energy level was a little down," said Crusaders coach Tommy Winland. "We had a lot of turnovers and made some mental mistakes. There was a big difference in the third quarter from the second quarter."
Miranda Parkinson's 3-pointer at the top of they key with 5:09 left in the third quarter brought the score to 22-9 as it was Central's first points since Mirabella's jumper over six minutes earlier.
The Crusaders (4-9) haven't played since a 34-28 home win over Bellaire St. John on Dec. 30.
"We liked our fight in the second half," Winland said. "We just have to transition that into 32 minutes. If we had that for the whole game it might be a little different.
"It hurt us, but we'll learn from it."
Central had 27 turnovers as Rachel Grubbs, Isabella Rosso, Aubrey Platek and Leanne Grubbs all created two steals.
Rachel Grubbs also grabbed eight of Madonna's 24 rebounds and finished with four points. Monica Bragg led all scorers with 12 points and had five rebounds with four blocks.
For Central, Mirabella and Parkinson had eight and six points, respectively. The Crusaders actually outscored the Blue Dons 25-22 in the second half.
"We were in almost the same situation," Rosso said, referring to Wednesday night's close game against Brooke, which Madonna closed out with a 49-39 victory. "I'm proud of the way we pulled through."
Rosso found Katie Lammers under the basket for lay up which sparked a 7-0 run for the Blue Dons early in the fourth quarter.
"We both felt good after that play," Rosso said. "It really got the team going toward the end of the game."
Lauren Hunt came off the bench to score six points, all in the fourth quarter, with three steals for the Crusaders.
"She's normally a starter," Winland said. "We expect that out of her."
Central plays at Big Red on Monday, while Madonna travels to Wheeling for a game against Linsly.
"We're on a win streak," Ogden said. "We need some confidence against a tough Linsly team."
Madonna 41, Catholic Central 31
Catholic Central 4 2 11 14 - 31
Madonna 7 10 11 11 - 41
CENTRAL (4-9): S. Mirabella 1 2-3 5, Bertoia 1 0-0 3, Parkinson 2 0-0 6, M. Mirabella 3 2-2 8, McComb 1 0-0 2, Hunt 2 2-3 6, Ondos 0 1-5 1. TOTALS: 10 7-13 31. 3-pointers: Parkinson 2, S. Mirabella, Bertoia.
MADONNA (6-4): Holt 2 0-0 4, Rosso 2 0-0 4, R. Grubbs 0 4-6 4, Platek 3 0-0 6, Kotten 0 2-2 2, Bragg 3 6-6 12, L. Grubbs 1 1-2 3, Lammers 3 0-2 6. TOTALS: 14 9-18 41.