BRIDGEPORT – The Bridgeport Bulldogs came into their home match Wednesday at 1-0, having yet to be dealt a loss. They found themselves up against the Shadyside Tigers, who were searching for their first win of the season at 0-2.
By the final buzzer inside the John J. Havlicek Gymnasium, there’d been a criss-cross between the two rivals.
The Tigers took the game in decisive fashion, winning 60-27 behind a defense that piled up steals and double-digit scoring outputs from Kaci Tsoras, Macy Hendershot and Makayla Faulkner.
“I thought our defensive pressure helped us tonight,” Shadyside head coach Serge Gentile said. “We were able to cause some turnovers, get some easy buckets. I thought we moved the ball well, saw the floor, made shots. We got in a little bit of foul trouble there, and I think we need to get a little more consistent on getting in the correct positions on defense.”
Tsoras led the Tigers with 16 points to go with seven rebounds, four assists and three steals followed by Hendershot with 15 points, eight rebounds and three assists, and Faulkner with 11 points.
Shadyside benefited from a glut of second chances, pulling down 24 offensive rebounds which contributed to the Tigers attempting 65 field goals to Bridgeport’s 40.
“Absolutely, we want to be aggressive getting the ball,” Gentile said.
“Macey [Hendershot]’s usually a force on the boards, Maggie [Sims] does a good job in there, and Kaci Tsoras is just a spark plug, she gets all over the floor.”
Sims totaled six rebounds, two offensive, while Hendershot grabbed four offensive rebounds and Tsoras grabbed five.
Also contributing to the discrepancy was 18 Shadyside steals, led by a five-steal day by Taylor Fulton, who also scored six for the road Tigers.
Shadyside got out to a 18-6 first quarter lead, helped by eights points from Hendershot in the frame.
Bridgeport nailed a flurry of 3’s in the second quarter, Brooke Stewart and Allanah Summers combining to hit long balls on three straight possessions, but Shadyside still led 34-17 at the half.
Tsoras scored eight in the third and Kira Miller hit a buzzer-beating hook shot to help the Tigers extend their lead to 20, 53-23, going into the fourth.
Neither team enjoyed an efficient shooting night, as Shadyside shot 40% from the field while Bridgeport shot 24% from the field.
After besting Wood County Christian the night before to win their first match of the year, Bridgeport will now have to put a tough loss behind them as they have some time to lick their wounds before their next game on Dec. 4 against Conotton Valley.
Allanah Summers’ nine points paced the Bulldogs, while Hanna Brewer (seven points, seven rebounds), Brooke Stewart (six points, two steals), Kaylee Baxter (four points, three rebounds) and Ryler McElroy (one point) also got into the scoring column.
“This is going to be a true test of who we’re going to be the rest of the season,” Bridgeport head coach Brittany Hicks said. “I hope we’re going to be resilient and we’re going to bounce back quick, because we have very winnable games coming up on our schedule. We had a huge first win yesterday, and this is hopefully an obstacle we can learn from and get past.”
For Shadyside, Tsoras, Hendershot Faulkner and Fulton were joined by Makenzie Zdunczyk (eight points), Maggie Sims (two points) and Valerie Boltz (two points) in the scorebook.
Shadyside next plays Caldwell on the road Dec. 2.
“We just need to keep working and getting better from one day to the next,” Gentile said. “We’ve got to be consistent offensively, and if we can do that we’ll be pretty good moving forward.”
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