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Buckeye Local girls roll by Bridgeport

Bridgeport’s Brooke Stewart, left, defends against Buckeye Local’s Demetria Christian Thursday night.

BRIDGEPORT – Buckeye Local head basketball Coach Jeff Stone has been waiting all season for his Lady Panthers to put together a complete game and after Thursday night’s effort against home-standing Bridgeport that wait is now over.

Junior Demetria Christian and seniors Landyn Walker and Megan Valuska combined for 33 points and 21 rebounds and Buckeye Local scored 14 of the game’s initial 15 points before rolling to a convincing 58-9 victory over the young and inexperienced Bulldogs inside John J. Havlicek Gymnasium.

With the Panthers (3-7) leading just 3-1 at the 4:28 mark of the opening stanza Christian and Valuska keyed an 11-0 burst to end the chapter, keyed by 13 Bridgeport (0-7) turnovers, to explode to a 14-1 advantage. A quick basket by junior Riley Bell at 7:20 of the second gave the hosts their first field goal of the contest and stopped the run.

However, the Panthers would score the next eight points, and 15 of the final 18 of the quarter to head to the locker room with a commanding 29-6 upperhand at the break.

Things didn’t get any better in the third period after the Bulldogs scored their only points of the frame Buckeye closed on a 15-0 run, before adding the first four points of the fourth quarter as well.

“The was our first complete game of the season,” Stone admitted. “Bridgeport is a rebuilding team and I understand that, but it was nice to see our girls come out and play a good, aggressive man-defense, shoot the ball and rebound well all in the same game. They honestly did everything on the court (Thursday) that we have been practicing the last couple of days.

“Hopefully we can come out and have that same kind of success Monday night when we play at Steubenville Catholic Central. I was just very proud of how the girls handled everything and how they played with a total team effort (Thursday).”

Christian finished with 13 points and seven rebounds while Valuska added 10 points and eight rebounds and Walker 10 points and six boards. Overall, Buckeye Local grabbed a huge 42-19 advantage off the glass and turned the ball over 12 times to 29 for their hosts. Alexis Clemens came off the bench to hit a triple for Bridgeport and lead the hosts with three markers while Bell had a team-high six caroms.

“They just played harder than us, and that is what I am most upset about,” Bridgeport Coach Greg Harkness commented. “We try to tell the girls to look in the mirror and hold themselves accountable, but sometimes there is just a deer in the headlights kind of look. They have to find a way to get more comfortable with the ball in their hands.

“But we will be back at practice (Friday) and hopefully we will get to the point where we can go out and play better.”

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