WOLFHURST - Bridgeport's girls basketball team is expecting a big season.
Outside of the typical opening-game mistakes, the Lady Bulldogs took care of their business in Monday evening's season opener against Steubenville Central inside the John J. Havlicek Gymnasium, posting a 54-28 victory.
"We're not going to surprise people," Bridgeport head coach Rob Zitzelsberger said. "We're the target of everybody, so we have to be ready to play every game. Tonight was indicative of that because we came out, thought we could just run through the motions, but we got it going."
T-L Photo/SETH STASKEY
BRIDGEPORT’S Caitlyn Kroll goes up for a shot in the middle of several Steubenville Central defenders during Monday’s game in the John J. Havlicek Gymnasium. Additional images may be found at cu.timesleaderonline.com
The Lady Bulldogs, who return to action Wednesday against Bellaire, struggled from the field early despite getting many good looks. However, their defense didn't suffer. Using a sticky 1-3-1 press, Bridgeport bottled up the Lady Crusaders, who came in with a 1-0 record.
"We didn't shoot it or run our offense very well, which is odd for us based on how we did in the pre-season," SCC head coach Tom Winland said. "Bridgeport had something to do with that because they're quick and athletic. They're a bear."
Bridgeport led, 9-2, after one and thanks to senior Maclaine Murad's hot shooting in the second quarter, the Lady Bulldogs lead swelled to 26-9 at the intermission.
"I don't know what it was," Zitzlesberger responded when asked about the slow shooting start. "Good basketball players let the game come to them and I think we forced a lot of shots. Once we do that with consistency, we'll be fine. We just have to be patient because you can't score 100 points with one shot.
Murad scored 11 of her 17 in the second quarter. Athletic junior Briana Massey scored all six of her points in the first 16 minutes. She was all over the boards and used her length well on the defensive end.
Neither team filled it up in the third, but Bridgeport extended its advantage to 37-15.
Splendid sophomore Caitlyn Kroll picked up right where she left off after a brilliant rookie campaign. She was one who let the game come to her in the second half. She used her quickness to slice to the bucket time after time in the second half. She finished with a game-high 18 points.
Senior Nicole Smolenak scored only four points, but played a solid floor game on both ends.
The Lady Crusaders were led by Lauren Hunt's eight. Alex McComb added six.
Steubenville Central was victorious in the prelim to manage a split on the evening.
STEUBENVILLE CENTRAL (28) - Parkinson 2, 0-0 5; Hunt 2, 4-6 8; Undos 0, 1-2 1; Re. Dziewatkoski 0, 0-0 0; M. Mirabella 2, 0-0 4; Torrence 2, 0-0 4; McComb 3, 0-2 6; Virtue 0, 0-0 0; Ra Dziewatkoski 0, 0-0 0; S. Mirabella 0, 0-0 0; Bertoia 0, 0-0 0; Capaldi 0, 0-0 0; Stevens 0, 0-0 0; Totals: 11, 5-10 28. BRIDGEPORT (54) - Kroll 7, 4-6 18; Murad 8, 0-0 17; Smolenak 1, 2-2 4; B. Massey 3, 0-1 6; D. Massey 0, 0-0 0; Millard 0, 3-4 3; Johnson 0, 0-0 0; Renzler 2, 0-0 4; Grimmett 1, 0-0 2; Trouten 0, 0-0 0; Totals: 22, 9-13 54.
3-point Goals: SCC - Parkinson. B - Murad.