CHARLESTON -- Charleston Catholic finished the game on a 45-14 run to end Madonna's season, 70-46, Friday at the West Virginia Class A State Boys Basketball Tournament.
The Blue Dons finish the season at 23-4 after the semifinal loss.
"Now, did Charleston Catholic play great today? Yeah, Charleston Catholic played great," Madonna veteran coach George Vargo said in the post-game press conference.
AT THE END -- Madonna's Josh Egyud, Clay Rokisky and Daniel Pietranton sit on the bench during the final moments of Thursday's loss to Charleston Catholic in the West Virginia Class A State Boys Basketball Tournament semifinals.
-- Mike Mathison
"Charleston Catholic also scored 26 points from the foul line. If any of you guys understand coaching and the tempo of a game, you can't play a basketball game when officials blow the whistle every five seconds. You can't win a basketball game when the officials don't let the kids play. You can't win a basketball game in a state tournament with this kind of officiating from the foul line. It's totally absurd."
The Blue Dons were whistled for 21 fouls, including an intentional foul, in the second half. The Irish were called four fouls.
Charleston Catholic was 26 for 38 from the foul line, Madonna 11 for 16.
"My biggest thought is, and I'm not going to make any excuses for coach Vargo, he doesn't need me to, but I know that when you expend all of the physical and emotional energy, both as a player and as a coach, and, believe me, I probably have as much experience as anybody of coming up just a little bit short in some of these games, that your nerves are raw and you are just very defensive about what just happened," said Charleston Catholic head coach Bill McClanahan. "I've been there and it is difficult, if not impossible, sometimes to contain those emotions and be tactful with them.
"Sometimes that nerve is just so exposed that it comes out. I'm sure he spoke what was on his mind.
"I'm not defending it. I'm not criticizing it. I'm just saying I am keenly aware of how that can happen."
The Irish shot the ball better than the Blue Dons, going 19 for 39 from the floor. Madonna was 14 for 48.
Charleston Catholic won the rebounding battle, 33-32. Madonna turned the ball over 18 times, compared to 11 for the Irish.
"Charleston Catholic played excellent basketball today,"said Vargo. "They are a very good team and are here for a reason. Their guard played solid basketball and they did a good job inside, too.
"Coach McClanahan does a wonderful job with this program. I would expect them to be down here a lot."
The Blue Dons' Clay Rokisky led his squad with 15 points and eight rebounds.
"Charleston Catholic did a really good job of closing in on the paint," said Rokisky. "I wasn't able to hit my outside shots so I had to go inside and they did a great job collapsing."
Rokisky hit a jumper and a three for a 32-25 Madonna lead with 6:26 left in the third quarter.
The Irish ended the quarter on a 14-5 run for a 39-37 lead.
Madonna's Connor Mogan had a tipin with make it 41-39 Irish. It went to 44-39 when Haston Gerencir, who finished with a game-high 28 points, canned a three. Madonna's Drazen Frankovitch hit 1 of 2 from the line for a 44-40 score with 6:46 left in the game.
Charleston Catholic went on a 19-0 run in the next 4:58, 12 coming from the line.
"They are a good basketball team, make no mistake. They are an excellent single A basketball team," said McClanahan. "I think the big thing we did, is we wanted to control inside the three-poiknt line. We knew they could hit some threes, but their strength with Rokisky and Frankovitch and (Nick) Battista penetrating, we knew they they really got a lot off two things -- transition, which I think we did an excellent job of, and controlling and penetrating the paint and then dishing off.
"Our effort was to try to play compact, to try to force them to shoot outside shots. And then, conversely, when we got the basketball, once we had the lead, we wanted to spread them out and make them guard us on the basketball because, obviously we felt with Frankovitch guarding somebody on the perimeter, it was to our advantage."
(Check Saturday's Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times for more coverage on the game).