WEIRTON - The press worked for both teams.
It helped the Madonna girls' basketball team build a 19-point lead early in the third quarter, and it helped Oak Glen rally.
The Golden Bears closed to within two points with 30 seconds left in the game, but in the end the mountain proved to be too big to climb as the Blue Dons held on for a 58-53 victory Thursday night inside the Bill Barrett Gymnasium.
INSIDE GAME — Weirton Madonna’s Katie Lammers goes up for a basket against the defensive efforts of Oak Glen’s Logan Andrews during Thursday’s game inside the Bill Barrett Gymnasium. Looking on is the Golden Bears’ Maisie Witherow. The Blue Dons took home a 58-53 victory.
-- Mike Mathison
"We got a little bit undisciplined," Madonna (12-8) head coach Don Ogden said.
"You would have thought we were the team that was behind with the erratic pace we were playing at.
"I thought we did a nice job in the first half. We had to regain our composure. We were playing with a lot of intensity, but we have to be more disciplined.
"I saw some good things that I liked. We are making progress. We get after it."
The Golden Bears ramped up the pressure in the second half to get back into the ballgame.
"We started to play better," Oak Glen (12-8) head coach Scott Wiley said. "We were more consistent. We were patient. Our shots started to fall. If we don't turn the ball over we are in good shape.
"We did not give up.
"(Monica) Bragg did a good job making foul shots. She only missed one.
"They are a good team. They are aggressive. They keep plugging away."
Bragg, who finished 8 of 9 from the free-throw line, recorded a game-high 33 points to lead the way for the Blue Dons. Katie Lammers collected nine points and Rachel Grubbs recorded eight points.
For Oak Glen, Vanessa Hissam scored a team-high 16 points and Jessica Stivason netted 14 points.
Three-pointers by Isabella Rosso and Bragg gave Madonna a 37-18 advantage early in the third quarter. Oak Glen refused to go away quietly and scratched and clawed its way back into the game. The visitors ended the quarter on a 16-4 run, and the strong quarter was capped by a basket by Hissam as time expired pulling Oak Glen to within 41-34 entering the fourth quarter.
"We made shots," Wiley said. "We put pressure on them. We tried to play zone, but we don't move well, so we went back to man-to-man. We were more aggressive."
A basket by Stivason pulled the Golden Bears to within 43-38, but the Blue Dons scored the next nine points to take a 52-38 lead.
With their backs against the wall, the Golden Bears once again responded. Oak Glen netted 11 of the next 12 points to close to within 53-51 on a bucket by Andrews with 1:06 left to play.
After regaining possession on a jump ball, the Golden Bears had the ball with a chance to tie or take the lead, but Oak Glen turned the ball over back to the Blue Dons. Bragg drained two free throws making the score 55-51 with 40.5 unplayed.
A basket by Stivason made it 55-53 with 30 seconds still showing on the scoreboard clock. The Golden Bears were forced to foul, and Bragg converted two more from the charity stripe making it 57-53 with 18.4 seconds left.
Oak Glen committed another turnover, and Cameron Dowiak made 1 of 2 from the foul line with 8.8 seconds left to seal the deal.
"Oak Glen put it to us up there," Ogden said. "We got up by 19, but Oak Glen was able to cut it to two. That is a reflection of Oak Glen being a good team. They got in kilter.
"Their pressure affected us. We struggled bringing the ball up. We didn't play with the same intensity we did in the first quarter-and-a-half of the first half.
"We are a young team. The kids play hard. The girls are making progress every game. They are going to make mistakes.
"I have to be patient."
Madonna hosts state-ranked St. Marys on Monday. Oak Glen is scheduled to play Wednesday at home against Brooke.
A moment of silence was held before the game in memory of the three Oak Glen students - Kristyn Butcher, Kaylin Rice and John "Emmett" Snow III - who died as a result of a car accident Jan. 18. Afterward, members of the Blue Dons' team presented the Golden Bears with a prayer blanket in memory of the three students.
Madonna 58, Oak Glen 53
Oak Glen 6 12 16 19 - 53
Madonna 16 15 10 17 - 58
OAK GLEN (12-8): Arnott 2 0-0 4, Snow 0 0-0 0, Witherow 1 0-0 2, Evans 0 4-4 4, Andrews 2 3-4 7, Feicht 0 0-0 0, Hissam 6 4-8 16, Wiley 2 0-0 6, Stivason 7 0-1 14, McKay 0 0-0 0. Totals: 20 11-17 53. 3-Pointers: Wiley 2.
MADONNA (12-8): Colantonio 0 0-0 0, Dowiak 0 1-5 1, Holt 1 0-2 2, Rosso 1 0-0 3, Grubbs 2 4-4 8, Platek 1 0-0 2, Bragg 12 8-9 33, Lammers 4 1-3 9. Totals: 21 14-23 58. 3-Pointers: Rosso, Bragg.