ST. CLAIRSVILLE - Just when it appeared as if Beallsville was making its move, a stoppage in play halted all of the Blue Devils' momentum.
Trailing top-seeded Madonna 62-56 with 5:50 left to play in the Wheeling Hospital/OVAC Boys' Basketball Class A Championship game, Blue Devils coach Lou ''Scooter'' Tolzda called a timeout following Teryn Jarrett's 3-pointer to get his troops a much-needed rest and to setup their defense.
However, little did the veteran court boss, nor anyone among the huge crowd inside the Health and Physical Education Building on the campus of Ohio University Eastern, know that the Blue Dons (18-3) would reel off the next 16 points en route to an unexpected, 84-64, blowout of the Blue Devils (18-2).
''We called that timeout, but then they got two quick baskets and we turned it over. It just steamrolled from there,'' Tolzda said. ''They just kept coming at us and we didn't slow them down. We knew they were going to fastbreak ... kick it out and go and we prepared for it, but not to the extent that they did it.
''They looked like a state championship team and you've got to believe that they have a legitimate shot in West Virginia. If they play like they did (Saturday), they just could be West Virginia state champs again.''
Following the break in the action, Madonna's 6-foot-6 senior Drazen Frankovich scored on the inside and then sophomore Ross Comis picked a Blue Devils' pocket and went in for an uncontested layup to push the margin back to 10, 66-56.
A Beallsville turnover ensued on the next trip down the floor and Frankovich and Comis combined for eight of the next 12 points as Madonna started to pull away for good.
The run was punctuated by a nifty behind-the-back pass from Madonna senior playmaker Nick Battista to Frankovich, who sent the ball through the hoop with a two-handed slam.
Madonna coach George Vargo thanked his counterpart for the compliment, but said his team still has a ways to go.
''We are just taking one game at a time. (Saturday) it was the OVAC Championship,'' Vargo said. ''I want to thank my team for playing a great game in winning back-to-back titles. It means a lot to our program.''
The game was deadlocked at 19-19 after one quarter before the Blue Dons, who avenged an earlier loss to the Blue Devils, took a five-point, 39-34, lead into the locker room at the half.
Free-throw shooting kept the Blue Devils close as they meshed 15 of 16 in the first 16 minutes.
However, in the second half, it was Madonna's accuracy from the free-throw line that allowed it to keep Beallsville at bay and defend its small-school title. The Blue Dons tickled the twine on 16 of 21 attempts in the second half, led by Comis with a perfect 10-for-10 performance.
Jarrett paced Beallsville with 13 points. Tyler Spence added a dozen and Gage Bates came off the bench to add 10. Comis led five Blue Dons, and all scorers, in double digits with 21. Frankovich finished with 20, followed by Division I signee Clay Rokisky (Cleveland State) with 14, Battista 13 and Daniel Pietranton with 11 off the bench.
Madonna had a commanding, 39-18, advantage off the glass as Rokisky had 11 and Frankovich 10. Battista added nine and five assists. Josh Baldridge had seven of Beallsville's rebounds. Spence had six and also charted four steals and four assists.