TORONTO - The Steubenville Catholic Central girls basketball team bounced back from Monday's tough loss to Bridgeport with a 46-38 win at Toronto Thursday.
"It feels a lot better today," said Central head coach Tom Winland. "They needed that. They knew they were capable of playing like that. The enthusiasm wasn't there the other night, and they stepped up and had it tonight. I'm proud of them."
The loss was the the Red Knights second in a row to start the season.
GRABBING A BOARD — Steubenville Catholic Central’s Michaela Torrance secures a rebound in front of Toronto’s Makayla Bauman and Mariah Turner during the Crusaders 46-38 win over the Red Knights at Toronto High School.
-- Fred Younce
"They're just not converting what we're telling them to do," said Toronto head coach Mallory Blanton. "They're going hard, I know that, but they're not doing the right things that they should be."
Leading 38-37 with 1:42 left in the game, the Crusaders closed the game on an 8-1 run. Senior Rachel Rigaud scored six of her eight points to lead the way during the closing run.
"She's very important," said Winland of Rigaud. "She's one of our leaders. We talk about it all the time, she probably has one of the biggest hearts on this team.
"They all have big hearts, but Rachel works so hard. She works on her free throws before and after practice. I couldn't be more proud of her effort."
Miranda Parkinson, who tallied a game-high 12 points on the night, knocked down the front end of a one-and-one to make the score 39-37 with 1:34 left. She missed the second, but Rigaud snatched the offensive rebound, was fouled, and put through two charity tosses for a 41-37 lead at the 1:32 mark.
On Toronto's ensuing possession, the Crusaders forced a turnover, Rigaud came out of the pack on the fast break, and put home the layup to push the Crusaders' lead to 43-37 with just over a minute remaining.
"For one thing, we have to make our shots," said Blanton of her team's woes on offense. "We have to do the things we're doing in practice.
"We're doing the right things in practice and not converting them in games."
From there Parkinson knocked down a free throw along with two by Rigaud while Katie Spadafora put one in for the Red Knights to make the final 46-38 Crusaders.
"It says we're getting a little more experienced, and a little more mature in game situations," said Winland of how his team closed out the game. "Last year we struggled in those situations. It shows they're working hard to be in these games, and hopefully we can win a few more when we're in close games."
Central threatened to blow the game open in the third quarter after the teams went into intermission tied at 21. The Crusaders opened the second half with an 11-2 run to lead 32-23 with just over five minutes left in the third. The Red Knights closed the stanza with eight straight points and the lead was cut to 32-21 entering the final quarter.
Along with Parkinson and Rigaud's scoring, the Crusaders received eight points from Tori Knight and six a piece from Rachel Irvin and Micca Mirabella.
The Red Knights were led by eight each from Lexi Berger and Kayla Brown. Lindsay Bodnar added six.
Central (2-1) travels to St John Central Wednesday while Toronto is on the road at Bridgeport Monday.
"They have a lot of heart," said Blanton. "They don't give up."
Catholic Central 46, Toronto 38
Catholic Central 8 13 11 14 - 46
Toronto 6 15 10 7 - 38
CATHOLIC CENTRAL (2-1): Knight 3 0-2 8, Irvin 2 2-4 6, Rigaud 2 4-7 8, Mirabella 3 0-0 6, Parkinson 4 2-4 12, Dziewatkoski 1 0-0 2, Torrance 2 0-3 4, Ondos 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 17 8-20 46. 3-pointers: Knight (2), Parkinson (2).
TORONTO (0-2): Sears 0 2-2 2, Berger 4 0-0 8, Bodnar 1 4-5 6, Bauman 1 0-2 2, Brown 2 4-4 8, Harrison 0 1-2 1, Schaming 1 1-2 3, Spadafora 1 2-4 4, Turner 2 0-0 4, West 0 0-0 0, Robinson 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 12 14-21 38. 3-pointers: none.