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Hoops for the Ages
February 22, 2011 - Robert "Bubba" Kapral
BASKETBALL AT its finest. Such was the case Saturday as Ohio University Eastern played host to the boys' OVAC Basketball Tournament. Wheeling Park handled John Marshall handily, as expected, in the 10 a.m. lidlifter. The three contests to follow were all games for the archives. Local hoop fans may NEVER see a more exciting contest than the 1 p.m. Class A title contest between Morgantown Trinity and Weirton Madonna. Trinity, which is the top-rated small-school team in West Virginia, entered the game steeped in controversy over the use of a possible ineligible player. That said player dropped in 29 points on Madonna, but it was all for not as the Blue Dons escaped with an epic double-overtime triumph before a frenzied Madonna crowd. The game was marked with many twists and turns and the Blue Dons appeared dead in the water on at least two occasions, trailing by two with three seconds to go in regulation and 94 feet from the bucket, and again trailing by six with 1:33 in overtime and Trinity in possession of the ball. But the Madonna magic persevered. The 4 p.m. Class AA game was nearly as riveting. It was a nail-biter which left Monroe Central partisans stunned in disbelief. The Seminoles were deadlocked with PVC rival Fort Frye with some 20 seconds to go. The Noles had the ball but made a poor entry pass to the post, giving possession back to the Cadets in the waning seconds. After a timeout, Fort Frye inbounded from halfcourt. A shot from the wing misfired long, only to have a Cadet put it back on the weakside for the game-winner at the buzzer. The quartet of games was climaxed by a major upset as Magnolia denied St. Clairsville its first-ever boys' OVAC hoop title in front of a huge Red Devils' throng. The Red Devils' Dan Monteroso is as good as advertised but the Devils were subdued by some cold three-point shooting. Remarkably, it was the Blue Eagles first OVAC boys' crown since 1951. With that said, any OVAC tournament nay-sayers have no leg to stand on after Saturday. The tourney is now in its fourth year and continues to grow in stature, providing fans with exciting basketball and players and coaches the proper arena in which to determine conference champions.
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