BRIDGEPORT - Madonna's Blue Dons demonstrated the resolve one would expect from a veteran team that's the defending West Virginia Class A state and Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Class A champions.
Despite taking a pretty good shot from Bridgeport, the Blue Dons stood their ground and headed back to Hancock County with a cherished 64-48 repeat victory over the Bulldogs.
Early, it appeared as if it was going to be a Blue Dons rout when they shot out to a 21-8 lead at a juncture of the opening period.
However, the lead was trimmed to nine, 21-12, at the first break and then Bridgeport continued to pour it on and got within two at 29-27 after it held the ball for the final 1:40 of the half as Madonna stood in a zone.
"We've got to play four quarters," Bridgeport head coach Donnie Cash said. "The first quarter really hurt us tonight because they got out to a big lead on us."
The Blue Dons were sparked to their lead by Josh Egyud, who dialed long distance three times in the first quarter. Drazen Frankovitch, who came up big - literally and figuratively - used his 6-foot-6 frame to score six of his game-high 19 in the first quarter.
Madonna 64, Bridgepoprt 48
Madonna 21 8 16 19 - 64
Bridgeport 12 15 14 7 - 48
MADONNA: Rokisky 1, 0-0 2; Pietranton 1, 0-0 2; Comis 3, 3-4 9; Frankovitch 9, 1-2 19; Battista 4, 2-2 10; Guio 0, 0-0 0; Egyud 7, 0-0 18; Mogan 2, 0-2 4; Ewusiak 0, 0-0 0; Martin 0, 0-0 0; Totals: 27, 6-10 64. 3-pointers: Egyud 4.
BRIDGEPORT: Roth 6, 2-6 15; Smelley 3, 4-4 10; Fields 2, 1-2 6; Kreiter 0, 0-0 0; McGrath 1, 0-0 2; Williams 0, 2-2 2; Frey 4, 1-2 9; Perrelli 1, 2-2 4; Totals: 17, 12-18 48. 3-pointers: Roth, Fields.
"Madonna got into a little bit of foul trouble in the first half, and we just kept attacking," Cash said. "We got some confidence and we were aggressive, but we were also smart."
The Bulldogs - behind the play of Aaron Roth and senior Cole Smelley - continued their solid play in the third, scoring the first six points of the period.
Bridgeport owned a 41-39 upperhand after Cody Frey tallied in transition, but the Dons settled down and closed the third with six straight points. Buckets by Frankovich, Ross Comis and Nick Battista gave Madonna a 45-41 edge after three.
The hosts got within four at 47-43 early in the fourth, but a 6-0 run by Madonna, which included back-to-back buckets by Egyud pushed the margin to 10 and the Bulldogs could only get within eight the rest of the way.
Frankovitch put the exclamation point on things when he got free along the baseline for a two-handed dunk. He was also tough on the boards with 13 rebounds.
Egyud complemented Frankovitch's scoring with 18 points. Comis added nine. The Dons also received a lift in the second half from talented senior Clay Rokisky, who had been sidelined by injury. Bridgeport, meanwhile, received 15 points from Roth. Smelley finished with 10 points despite being saddled with foul trouble much of the evening.
The Blue Dons held a 34-25 edge on the glass. Madonna was charted for 12 turnovers, which was four more than the Dogs.