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GIRLS' BASKETBALL: Bridgeport Starts Season Unbeaten at 10-0

Bulldogs relentless, defeat Bishops 72-21

January 4, 2013
By KIM NORTH, For The Intelligencer , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

BRIDGEPORT - Bridgeport has steamrolled its way to 10 straight victories to open the season following a 72-21 demolition of visiting Bishop Donahue Thursday night on Frank Baxter Court inside the John J. Havlicek Gymnasium.

Rob Zitzelsberger's Bulldogs, who entered the game sitting atop the OVAC Class 2A standings, roared to an 18-0 lead before the outmanned Bishops (1-8) knew what had hit them.

"We're playing pretty well," Zitzelsberger said. "Give Bishop Donahue credit. They did a lot of things right, but we just played really well.

"We're not going to let up against anybody. We played well defensively and offensively (Thursday night). The girls are very unselfish and look for each other."

Freshman dandy Caitlyn Kroll sparked the early surge as she netted six of her game, and-career-high 28 to start the game. She finished with nine first-quarter points, while junior Maclaine Murad chipped in with eight.

Bishop Donahue finally found the bottom of the net when Kat Polinski banked a runner in the lane off the glass and through the rim at the 4:08 mark.

Bridgeport led 25-8 after eight minutes of action, but held the visitors scoreless in the second frame while putting up 21 points for a commanding, 46-8, advantage at halftime.

Kroll, a 5-foot-8 stat sheet stuffer, knocked down 13 points in the second quarter. She finished with eight rebounds, four assists, four steals and three blocked shots. Senior Brittany Higgenbotham and junior Nicole Smolenak added four points each as the rout was on.

Free-throw shooting carried the Bulldogs through the second half as they tickled the twine 14 of 19 times.

They were 21-for-27 in the game.

In addition to Kroll's 28 points, Smolenak contributed 18 and Murad completed the double-digit scorers with 10. Higgenbotham (5) and classmate Kaitlyn Benda (3) teamed for eight points, while Amber Millard (4), Brianna Massey (2) and Keri Renzler (4) combined for eight off the bench.

Bridgeport also held a commanding, 48-21, advantage off the glass as Smolenak and Kroll led the way with eight each. Higgenbotham snagged seven and Murad five. Smolenak completed her all-around floor game with half-a-dozen assists and four steals. Higgenbotham charted two steals and a pair of blocks.

Polinski tallied 10 of the Bishops' 21 points. She also pulled down five of their rebounds. Kelsey Schau had five points.

Bishop Donahue turned the ball over 21 times, 13 more than Bridgeport.

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