Bridgeport rolls over Madonna

Young teams – regardless what sport it is – sometimes have tough times regaining their intensity following a big win.

That wasn’t an issue for the Bridgeport girls’ basketball team Thursday evening.

Just 72 hours after toppling River on the road, the Lady Bulldogs were back at it and left no doubt against Madonna inside the John J. Havlicek Gymnasium, posting an impressive 62-39 victory to improve to 5-0.

“We played well, had balanced scoring, played pretty good defense, so it was a nice win for us,” said Bridgeport head coach Rob Zitzelsberger. “I think if we continue to play as a team, we’ll be alright.”

Team ball was not an issue against the Lady Blue Dons (1-4). No fewer than four Lady Bulldogs cracked double figures.

The Lady Bulldogs’ attack was led by their junior duo of Nicole Smolenak and Maclaine Murad. The pair evenly divided 32 markers. Smolenak had a brilliant floor game with eight rebounds and five assists.

Brittany Higgenbotham was solid on the interior with 10 points and eight boards. Talented freshman Caitlyn Kroll finished with 11 points despite struggling some from the floor.

Bridgeport owned a 13-7 lead after one and led 32-21 at the intermission.

Any thought of a Blue Dons’ rally were quickly eliminated as Bridgeport used a 17-4 run in the third to blow the game wide open.

During the period, seven different girls recorded points.

“Our goal in the third quarter is to not let the other team back in the game,” Zitzelsberger said. “We like to press, run and shoot the ball. We want everyone to shoot the ball when they’re open.”

Madonna, however, continued to scratch and claw its way during the fourth quarter, but the deficit was just too large to make a serious dent in the Lady Bulldogs’ advantage.

“I thought the girls did a great job of playing with some heart against an excellent ball club tonight,” said Lady Blue Dons’ head coach Don Ogden. “The third quarter happened to us when we played Bridgeport the first time. We just kind of shut down mentally and had too many mistakes.”

Madonna was paced by Nicollette Sellitti’s 11 points. Rachel Grubbs added eight points and a like number of rebounds.

The Lady Bulldogs held a 37-18 edge on the glass.

Bridgeport took exceptionally good care of the ball with only 11 turnovers. Madonna, meanwhile, was charted for 21 miscues.

“That’s a really good number for us,” Zitzelsberger said. “A lot of those were unforced, too. We work a lot on ball handling and we’re fundamentally pretty sound.”

The Lady Blue Dons are back at it on Tuesday when they visit Clay-Battelle.

Bridgeport, meanwhile, has a three-game week ahead. It treks to Beallsville on Monday, hosts St. Clairsville Wednesday and Cameron on Saturday.

Madonna managed a split by winning the jayvee encounter.

MADONNA (39) – Holt 1, 2-4 4; Sellitti 4, 2-5 11; Platek 1, 1-3 3; Davis 1, 0-0 2; Grubbs 1, 0-0 2; Lammers 0, 0-0 0; R. Grubbs 3, 2-3 8; Rosso 3, 0-0 9; Totals: 14, 7-15 39. BRIDGEPORT (62) – Kroll 4, 3-4 11; Smolenak 4, 5-6 16; Murad 7, 0-0 16; Benda 2, 0-0 4; Higgenbotham 5, 0-0 10; Massey 0, 3-4 3; Renzler 1, 0-0 2; Millard 0, 0-0 0; Totals: 23, 11-14 62.

Three-Point Goals: M – Sellitti, Rosso (3). B – Smolenak (3), Murad (2).