WEIRTON - Facing one of the better players in the Ohio Valley and perhaps in the state of Ohio, the Madonna Lady Blue Dons needed their shots to fall, but it wasn't to be last night as Kaitlyn Kroll and her Bridgeport Lady Bulldogs scored a 43-26 victory last night in the Bill Barrett Gymnasium.
Kroll, a sophomore, had a double-double with 23 points and 10 rebounds, but it wasn't a one-player show as Nicole Smolenak and Maclaine Murad gave her ample support.
"They have a three-headed monster out there," said veteran Blue Don coach, Don Ogden, who saw his club fall to 1-2 with both losses to Bridgeport. "Those other two girls could star of anybody else. They have three girls that are just good all around basketball players and they are a veteran team.
JOCKEYING?FOR?POSITION — Madonna’s Aubrey Platek battles Bridgeport’s Maclane Murad for a rebound in the second half of their game in Weirton on Thursday. The Bulldogs won 43-26 for their second win over the Blue Dons this season.
"So, you put all that stuff together and you've got a good team. I'm just glad we played them both games early in the season and we don't have to worry about them any more. You might call it Christmas coming early for us."
Ogden's club was led by sophomore Monica Bragg, who scored 9 points on the strength of two 3-pointers and three of four from the foul line while junior Rachael Grubbs, who was entrusted with the defensive responsibility of guarding Kroll, scored six points and led the Blue Dons with 9 rebounds.
"We didn't shoot the ball real well tonight, but we were able to rely on our defense," said Bridgeport mentor, Rob Ziztelburger, whose unbeaten club won its 7th straight. "When you hold a team to 26 points, you got a shot to win."
Bridgeport 43, Madonna 26
Bridgeport 14 7 15 7 43
Madonna 8 2 10 6 26
BRIDGEPORT (7-0): Kroll 6 8-13 23, Millard 0 0-0 0, Massey 1 0-0 2, Murad 2 2-4 7, Smolenak 4 1-2 11. TOTALS: 13 11-19 43. 3-pointers: Kroll, 3; Murad; Smolenak, 2; Rebounds: 25 (Kroll, 10); Turnovers: 17.
MADONNA (1-2); Dowiak 0 0-0 0; Holt 2 0-0 4; Rosso 2 0-0 5; Grubbs 3 0-0 6; Platek 1 0-0 2; Bragg 2 3-4 9. TOTALS: 10 3-4 26. 3-pointers: Bragg, 2; Rosso; Rebounds: 29 (Grubbs, 9); Turnovers: 18.
If there was a chink in Bridgeport's armor, it was the 17 turnovers they committed.
"We keep talking about those 30-foot passes and this is our third game this week," Zitzelberger continued. "So I'm sure our legs are a little tired. That's probably why our shots were off, but Madonna is young. They played us a week ago and they know what we're going to do. He (Ogden) has them going in the right direction. He's got a good program."
With Kroll scoring 9 first quarter points, the Lady Bulldogs raced out a 14-8 first quarter lead and had command by 21-10 at the half as the Lady Blue Dons were stone cold in the second quarter scoring 2 points.
Kroll, who opened the scoring in the game with a 3-pointer, scored three baskets from long range and went to the foul line a lot as she drove to the basket making 8 of 13 freebees. She also had four steels and a couple of blocked shots.
Bragg, also a sophomore, couldn't match Kroll's scoring, but she checked in with 8 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 blocked shots.