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Madonna claims first win of the year

Melnyk's double-double, Alatis' 15 lifts Blue Dons over Valley

SCORING MACHINE — Vanessa Alatis scored a game-high 15 points to pace Madonna over Valley, 61-46, on Monday. -- Joe Catullo

WEIRTON — Madonna needed a win, and the Blue Dons got exactly what they needed.

The girls basketball team jumped out to an early lead against Valley and did not look back. The Blue Dons led wire to wire, en route to a 61-46 victory Monday night on Joanna Bernabei-McNamee Court inside the Bill Barrett Gymnasium.

“It was extremely important for the team as a whole to get our first win,” Madonna (1-2) head coach Cory Wingett said. “We got the monkey off our back. We have made a tremendous amount of improvement since our first game. We have learned to play defense. We need to learn to box out. We did a good job on the things we focused on, and we were able to come away with the win.”

Madonna led by as many as 24 points in the game.

“Our transition game was strong, and we finished better in transition in the second half than we did in the first,” Wingett said. “We need to rebound better. We are going to have to work hard on rebounding.”

Vanessa Alatis tallied a game-high 15 points to lead the way for the Blue Dons. She scored 13 of her 15 points in the second and third quarters.

Also for Madonna, Anna Backel collected 13 points. Jazzy Melnyk ended up with 12 points, 15 rebounds, six assists and six steals. Westminster commit Alaina Moore contributed 10 points.

Shyanne Moore recorded a team-high 13 points to lead Valley, while Addison Brown added 10. Brown made the team’s lone 3-pointer.

“They didn’t do anything unexpected,” Wingett said. “Valley is a good, solid team. They have a young team this year. They have a coach (Kasey Sapp) who is in his third year or so. It was always a good game, and (Monday) was no different.”

The Blue Dons raced out to a 12-point advantage (15-3) before taking a 15-5 lead at the end of the first quarter. Madonna increased its advantage to 17 points at 29-12 in the second before taking a 31-18 lead into the locker room at halftime.

The hosts committed 13 turnovers in the first half, while the visitors had 11.

Madonna came out strong to start the third, as the Blue Dons jumped out to a 39-20 lead only to see Valley counter with an 8-0 run to pull within 11 and force the Blue Dons to call a timeout. The victors responded and ripped off a 7-0 spurt before taking a 46-29 lead into the fourth.

An 8-0 run in the final frame gave the home team a 59-35 advantage.

“We are pretty good in transition,” Wingett said. “That is a goal of ours. We like to get the rebound, get it out and get down the court. We have a deep bench this year, and that helps us push the ball at a fast pace. It helps when we don’t have to settle for sets in the halfcourt. It helps when we can get points that way.”

Madonna finished the game with 24 turnovers, while Valley had 20.

There was no JV game.

UP NEXT

Valley: Tentatively hosts Paden City at 7 p.m. Wednesday at home.

Madonna: Tentatively hosts Thursday night.

“It is our second in section game of the week,” Wingett said. “In West Virginia, you are put in sections and we are in a section with Cameron and Valley. We are playing them back-to-back. This game is extremely important. We have to get refocused. We are going to have to give our best effort.”

Madonna 61, Valley 46

Valley 5 13 11 17 — 46

Madonna 15 16 15 15 — 61

VALLEY (0-1): Higgins 1 2-2 5, Soles 2 2-2 6, Barnette 0 1-2 1, Bassett 1 1-2 3, Brown 3 4-6 10, Moore 5 3-5 13, Bates 4 0-0 8. TOTALS: 16 13-19 46.

MADONNA (1-2): L. Bain 0 0-0 0, Pietranton 0 0-0 0, Backel 6 0-0 13, Wingett 1 0-0 3, Bine 0 0-0 0, D. Bain 0 0-0 0, Melnyk 6 0-0 12, Sole 0 0-0 0, Alatis 6 2-2 15, Moore 4 2-2 10, Lenhart 0 0-0 0, Martinez 2 0-0 4, Yacos 2 0-2 4. TOTALS: 27 4-6 61.

3-POINTERS: Valley 1 (Higgins); Madonna 3 (Backel, Wingett, Alatis). TURNOVERS: Valley 20; Madonna 24.

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