’Dogs complete sweep of Irish

BELLAIRE -Bridgeport went scoreless for the first 3-minutes, 32-seconds of Tuesday evening’s tilt at St. John Central, however once the ‘Dogs started running, they were hard to slow down. Bridgeport took advantage of 24 Irish turnovers and placed three scorers in double figures en route to a 63-34 victory Tuesday evening on Guernsey Street.

“We took a timeout to get them fired up. I thought we were pretty lackadaisical, but that was from practice yesterday. We didn’t have the greatest practice; there were some things I didn’t like, so I kicked them out. You play as you practice, it showed the day before and we were a little sluggish,” veteran Bulldogs coach Donnie Cash relayed concerning his team’s slow start. “I talked to them, some of them have 10 games left that are guaranteed with the seniors , and they have to make it to the best of their ability, because you won’t get it again once it’s done and over with. We have showed signs here and there throughout the season; we played River pretty well the other night and blew a tire in the fourth quarter when they slapped the 1-3-1 on us and what I’m getting through to them is to just keep plugging away. We’ve just got to realize that we’ve got to come and work every day because we have a small margin of error for our team.”

“Starting out the game, we knew our game plan was that we wanted to control the pace of the game and keep it slow. We knew we were going to have to handle the ball because Bridgeport was going to throw a full court man press on us,” stated St. John Central coach Doug Swartz. “We did a good job in the fourth quarter handling their pressure, passes were really good.”

“We had some good energy at the end and we were able to get some good rebounds, get out running the floor and get some easy baskets, which was good to build some morale,” the Michigander added. “Hats off to Bridgeport, they executed their game plan, they ran a really good offense to get some key buckets. Good job on their defense, they did a good job executing that, doubling the ball as soon as we got across half court. The boys fought hard the entire time, we just got a little tired in the second quarter and it showed.”

Both teams struggled to find traction early before Matt Fouty drained a three for the Irish (0-11) at the 6:38 mark of the first. St. John Central and Bridgeport (3-10) each were guilty of numerous miscues over the opening four minutes, however John Stark quickly heated up, making a pair of buckets over a 32-second span, and from that point on the visitors owned the quarter. All told, Stark netted nine points in the opening frame, while the Dogs grabbed a 16-5 lead after one.

The Irish fought back in the second, closing the gap to 18-9 forcing the visitors into a timeout at the 5:08 mark, but from that point on the Bulldogs went on a 20-3 run to close out the period and take a comfortable 38-12 cushion into the half. The rally was led by Stark and Trevonn Ray with Dylan Gregorcic and Cooper Dulesky adding in timely buckets to carry the rally. The Irish were also guilty of nine turnovers in the quarter.

The third quarter saw the Bulldogs outscore the hosts 16-6, as the visitors began subbing liberally, spreading scoring across five players in the frame. Bridgeport continued to apply heavy defensive pressure as well, forcing seven more St. John’s turnovers over the third, while the Bulldogs were guilty of zero.

The Irish found their offensive stride in the fourth, as Fouty and Mason Kelly combined for 16 in the final quarter, outscoring the visitors by seven and pressuring the Bulldogs into seven miscues. Dulesky netted four in the quarter for Bridgeport, who came away with the 63-34 vctory.

Stark finished the night with 18 points to go with nine rebounds in two and a half quarters of work. Ray added 16, while Gregorcic finished with 11. Matt Fouty recorded a double-double for the Irish with a game-high 21 points to go with 10 rebounds. Mason Kelly scored 13. The Bulldogs grabbed 38 rebounds to 30 for the Irish and snared 15 steals on the evening.

The Bulldogs return to action visiting Cameron Friday evening, while the Irish return to the hardwood tonight for a tilt against Tyler Consolidated in Bellaire and will welcome East Richland Christian Friday evening.