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Golden Bears get over .500 mark, come back to defeat Blue Dons

UP AND OVER — Oak Glen’s Jacob Clark attempts a shot over Madonna’s Thomas Sessi on Tuesday. -Andrew Grimm

NEW MANCHESTER — Trailing by five points with a little over two minutes to go, Oak Glen head coach Jerry Everly called a timeout to rally his group.

Everly, however, was not the one talking — two of his team leaders were.

The result was a late surge to victory by the Golden Bears, 64-60, over Madonna on Tuesday inside the Oak Glen Fieldhouse.

“Blake (Perez) stepped up in the huddle and said, ‘Come on, let’s hang in there.’ And, Gage Patterson also was vocal and kept us together, telling the guys, ‘We just need to get a good shot, and we’ll be good,'” Everly said.

The Golden Bears (8-7), who led by as many as seven points at multiple points in the third quarter, found themselves in a familiar situation being in a close game. This time, though, they were not going to let it get away.

“We needed this one,” Everly said. “We have had so many tight games that just haven’t gone our way. We lost to Linsly on a buzzer-beater. We lost Saturday at North Marion on a last-second shot, and it just seemed like we never quit during any of those games. But, the ball wasn’t falling our way. (Tuesday), we finally caught a break, and the guys really stepped up.

“Learning from the past games is a big part of it. We took care of the ball better in the fourth quarter and hit some key shots.”

The win gives Oak Glen a split of the season series with the Blue Dons (8-6), with both games coming down to the final minute.

“It was a good game for both of us, a good game for the county,” Madonna head coach George Vargo said. “I think it’s an even match up.”

Zach Taylor led the Golden Bear attack with 21 points and eight rebounds, while three of his teammates also reached double figures.

“Zach does what he does,” Everly said. “He does a great job. He can shoot, and he gets to the rim. There isn’t a better competitor in the Valley than him.”

Jacob Clark finished with 12 points, including a key bucket late that made it a four-point game, while Patterson and Perez each netted 11 points. Brayden Mineard dished a game-high six assists.

“Blake stepped up and Gage stepped up, our guards. We needed them to score a little bit, and they did,” Everly said. “Jacob really came through at the end.”

Following the timeout, Patterson was fouled while attempting a 3-pointer and drained all three shots from the line to make it a two-point game. From that point on, the momentum swung in Oak Glen’s favor, as the Golden Bears finished on a 10-1 scoring run.

“That was key,” Everly said. “We were a little stuck right there. We were trying to find an offense that would work, and thankfully Gage hit all three.”

After erasing the deficit and getting a lead, the Blue Dons turned the ball over five times in the fourth quarter as the win slipped away.

“We just didn’t take care of the ball the last couple of possessions,” Vargo said. “It came down to guard play, and they kicked up the heat on defense, and we didn’t finish on offense. It just came down to a couple plays at the end of the game, and we missed our opportunities.

“With a five-point lead with under two minutes to go, you are supposed to win.”

Brennan Secrist led all players with a game-high 24 points and 10 rebounds for a double-double, while Evan Boniti scored 22 points for the Blue Dons.

“Brennan had a nice night, and Boniti came back and had a nice night,” Vargo said. “It’s nice to see those two seniors score a lot.”

SENIOR NIGHT

Prior to the game, the Golden Bears recognized their three seniors in Perez, Kaleb Dailey and Taylor.

“It’s a big win for Blake, Kaleb and Zach,” Everly said. “They have been here through thick and thin.”

GAME NOTE

The Golden Bears also won the jayvee contest, 63-44. Chaise Clark led Oak Glen with nine points, while Peyton Moore netted 17 points for the Blue Dons.

UP NEXT

Madonna: Hosts Toronto on senior night Friday.

Oak Glen: Travels to Wellsville on Friday.

(Grimm can be reached at agrimm@heraldstaronline.com)

Oak Glen 64, Madonna 60

Madonna 13-13-21-13 — 60

Oak Glen 11-19-20-14 — 64

MADONNA (8-6): Secrist 8 8-8 24; Sessi 1 0-0 2; Arlia 0 0-0 0; Boniti 8 4-6 22; Amaismeier 1 0-0 2; Pulice 4 1-2 10. TOTALS: 22 13-16 60.

OAK GLEN (8-7): Patterson 3 3-3 11; Perez 4 3-4 11; Dailey 0 0-0 0; Allison 1 0-0 2; Taylor 8 2-3 21; Clark 5 2-4 12; Mineard 2 1-1 5; Howard 1 0-0 2. TOTALS: 24 11-15 64.

3-POINT GOALS: Madonna 3 (Boniti 2, Pulice); Oak Glen 5 (Taylor 3, Patterson 2). ASSISTS: Madonna 16 (Boniti 4, Pulice 4); Oak Glen 17 (Mineard 6). REBOUNDS: Madonna 25 (Secrist 10); Oak Glen 25 (Taylor 8). TURNOVERS: Madonna 13; Oak Glen 16.

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