Bridgeport cruises by Beallsville

It’s not very often that a team misses 50 shots from the floor and still wins a basketball game by 21 points.

However, that’s exactly what happened Thursday night as state-ranked Bridgeport struggled, but still posted a 59-38 victory over visiting Beallsville in girls’ action inside the John J. Havlicek Gymnasium.

Playing their third game in four days, the Lady Bulldogs (17-1) showed the effects as they meshed just 22 of 72 attempts (31 percent).

“That sounds about right. We missed a lot of them in the second half,” admitted Bridgeport head coach Rob Zitzelsberger, who watched his squad complete a 3-game sweep this week to keep its hopes of a home game alive in the first round of the upcoming OVAC/Wheeling Hospital Class 2A Tournament.

“We’ve had a rough week,” Zitzelsberger said, referring to the recent schedule. “We had a late night last night at Cameron and then a 2-hour delay today.”

Bridgeport’s defense, which it has all season, got the Bulldogs off-and-running in the first quarter. The 1-2-2 fullcourt press forced the Blue Devils into four quick turnovers, which led the easy transition baskets for the hosts.

Junior Nicole Smolenak netted all 10 of her points in the initial eight minutes, including the first seven, as Bridgeport ran out to a 20-12 advantage. She finished the night two steals short of a triple-double as she totalled 13 rebounds and eight swipes.

“Our defense got us going,” Zitzelsberger noted. “We got some early steals that led to easy buckets. The second half was pretty much playground basketball as we matched them bucket for bucket.”

The second quarter is where the hosts pulled away as they outscored the Blue Devils (5-14) by a 14-4 margin as freshman Caitlyn Kroll (7) and junior Maclaine Murad (6) teamed for all but one of the counters.

“We started off sluggish and you can’t do that against a team like Bridgeport,” Beallsville head coach Rick Jarrett said. “You’ve got to be ready to play all four quarters, and we weren’t.”

Kroll led all scorers with 21 and Murad chipped in 17. Murad and senior Brittany Higgenbotham evenly divided 16 rebounds, while sophomore Brianna Massey grabbed seven and Kroll landed six.

Maddie Stephen paced Beallsville with 15 points and nine rebounds. Katey Kinney added eight points and a like number of rebounds.

The Blue Devils finished with 17 turnovers, 10 more than the Bulldogs. Bridgeport led 47-30 off the glass.

Bridgeport recorded a sweep as the JVs also emerged victorious.

The Bulldogs host Barnesville Monday night, which is the cut-off date for the OVAC/Wheeling Hospital Tournament.

Beallsville travels to Frontier the same night.

BEALLSVILLE (38) – Bedford 2 0-0 4; Headley 3 0-0 6; Stephen 6 1-3 15; Palmer 1 0-0 2; Kinney 3 2-3 8; Stewart 1 1-2 3; Ring 0 0-0 0; Totals: 16-48 4-8. BRIDGEPORT (59) – Smolenak 3 2-2 10; Murad 6 2-2 17; Kroll 9 3-3 21; Benda 1 1-3 4; Higgenbotham 0 0-0 0; Massey 1 0-0 2; Renzler 2 0-0 4; Millard 0 1-2 1; Oszust 0 0-0 0; Baker 0 0-0 0; Totals: 22-72 9-12.

Three-Point Goals: Beallsville 2 (Stephen); Bridgeport 6 (Murad 3, Smolenak 2, Benda)

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