TORONTO - The Toronto girls basketball team used a tremendous defensive effort in the first half and cruised to a 45-27 win over Madonna Monday despite head coach Mallory Blanton missing the game due to illness.
"Mallory has the flu so she was out for this game and Coach (Ed) Weidge(r) and I stepped in for this game," said Toronto assistant coach Rich Coburn. "The girls pretty much know the program and how it runs so before I even went in there to say anything they knew the game plan right off the bat.
"The girls played hard with each other. They have a great camaraderie with each other which we really like."
RED KNIGHTS WIN — Toronto’s Mariah Turner grabs a defensive rebound during the second half of Monday’s 45-27 win against Madonna in Toronto. - Fred Younce
The Red Knights jumped out to a 10-4 lead after one quarter, only to look even more impressive in the second by outscoring the Blue Dons 12-3 to secure a 22-7 halftime advantage.
"Honestly I was kind of worried coming in," said Coburn. "You always hear that a team's young, but they have great coaching over there with Coach (Don) Ogden and Coach (Rusty) Hodgkiss. They always have their teams ready to play. I thought we came out playing well.
"I thought the hustle was there and I thought the intensity was there. We wanted to get out fast. I think this might give us a little confidence that we may have needed coming off the first three games. I think they all played really well.
"It was nice to see some kids get in and hit some shots."
Only a pair of Blue Dons scored in the first half - Monica Bragg had five and Rachel Grubbs had two - as Toronto's pressure defense caused problems for head coach Don Ogden's young squad all evening.
"I think it's the youth, but I also think it was Toronto did a nice job of playing defense," said Ogden. "They took away passing lanes and forced us to get out of our offense. It was a little bit of both, but I give a lot of credit to Toronto.
"They were a major factor why we weren't able to run our offense today."
Lindsay Bodnar and Mariah Turner were the main offensive weapons in the first half for Toronto with Bodnar scoring 10, including a pair of three-pointers, and Turner scoring all nine of her points.
"I think we didn't come out and play the shooter," said Ogden. "I don't think we were very aggressive defending the outside. We didn't do a very good job of rebounding.
"We can pick anything out of a hat and it probably applied to tonight's game."
For the game Bodnar went on to lead all scorers with 15 points. Bragg led the Blue Dons with 11 despite leaving with an injury late in the third quarter.
The Red Knights move to 2-3 with their second consecutive win and take on Jefferson County Christian School at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at the Milsop Community Center.
"Filling in for Mallory I didn't really look at the scoreboard that much," said Coburn. "Probably not as much as I should have, but they came out playing well. We hope we can take this to the next level.
"We'll get ready to come in Saturday and face JCCS."
Madonna (1-2) travels to Bridgeport Thursday.
"We're playing everybody," said Ogden. "When you're as young as we are, and that's not an excuse, everyone just needs to get game experience. That's the best way to get game experience, by coming off the bench.
"We rotate a little bit. We're still looking at girls. Every position is still open, and that's an opportunity for every girl to show what's she's got."
Toronto 45, Madonna 27
Madonna 4 3 12 8 - 27
Toronto 10 12 15 8 - 45
MADONNA: Holt 2 1-4 5, Mascio 0 0-0 0, Rosso 1 0-0 2, Sellitti 2 0-0 4, Platek 1 0-2 2, Davis 0 0-0 0, Bragg 4 3-5 11, L. Grubbs 0 0-0 0, Lammers 0 0-0 0, R. Grubbs 1 1-2 3. TOTALS: 11 5-13 27. 3-pointers: none.
TORONTO: Harrison 1 0-0 2, Berger 2 1-2 5, Sears 1 0-0 2, Robinson 0 0-0 0, Bauman 1 0-0 2, Brown 1 0-0 2, Bodnar 6 1-3 15, Jones 0 0-1 0, West 0 0-0 0, Turner 4 1-2 9, Spadafora 1 0-2 2, Schaming 3 0-1 6. TOTALS: 20 3-11 45. 3-pointers: Bodnar (2).