Red Knight girls falter in loss to Blue Dons

TORONTO – Rachel Grubbs and Monica Bragg combined for 28 points as Madonna’s girls rolled to a 48-29 victory over Toronto Wednesday inside the George J. Kunzler Memorial Gymnasium.

The Lady Dons took the lead for good early in the first when Katie Lammers turned a Cameron Dowiak pass into two points. Thanks to eight tallies by Grubbs, Madonna held an 18-9 advantage heading into the second stanza.

Five points each from Grubbs and Mikaela Lenhart put Don Ogden’s crew up 32-19 at the break. In the third, Bragg and Grubbs combined for eight of Madonna’s 10 tallies. The visitors stretched their margin to 16 (42-26) going into the final quarter.

Grubbs took game scoring honors with 18 (13 coming in the first half). Bragg recorded a double-double (10 points and 13 rebounds). She also blocked four shots. Eight of Bragg’s total came after the intermission.

“The last couple of weeks we have been emphasizing don’t come to play, come to compete,” said Madonna’s Ogden. “I thought we did a good job coming out of the game with our intensity. We got a little undisciplined at times but overall I thought we did a good job of executing.

“Against the defense Toronto was running, we used an offensive set where Rachel touches the ball a lot. She couldn’t score inside if the exterior girls weren’t making good passes. She finished a lot of them and really came through in the beginning.”

Toronto did close the gap to eight (24-16) early in the second period thanks to five points from Malaysia Harrison. Madonna, however, closed strong (Grubbs and Lammers getting buckets) and maintained a double-digit lead the rest of the way.

“The girls did a good job of showing discipline,” Ogden said. “We emphasized at halftime the need to make smart passes and not take risks. They did a pretty good job of that.”

Lindsay Bodnar paced the Knights, now 7-10 with 12 points while Harrison added 10.

“I feel like most of the time our team and Madonna are about the same,” Toronto coach Mallory Blanton said. “We play with the same aggressiveness and we coach the same. Tonight, they definitely were the better team. We did not come ready to play.

“We flat-lined. Turnovers really hurt (the Red Knights were guilty of 24 ball-handling miscues) and we weren’t rebounding at all. They had so many second chances. We just weren’t boxing out.”

Madonna finished with 33 rebounds compared to 24 for Toronto. R. Grubbs and Platek grabbed six boards each for the winners. Katie Spadafora had five for the Knights.

Blanton’s club visits Catholic Central today. Madonna, 9-7, returns to action Monday when it hosts Morgantown Trinity in the OVAC Class A semifinals.

“Our goal every year is to make the OVAC tournament,” Ogden pointed out. “Finishing second saved us a trip to Morgantown. The last time we played Trinity, they put a whipping on us. Hopefully, we will have a different outcome Monday.”

Madonna 48, Toronto 29

Madonna 18 14 10 6 – 48

Toronto 9 10 7 3 – 29

MADONNA (9-7): Colantonio 0 2-2 2; Dowiak 0 1-2 1; Holt 0 1-2 1; Rosso 1 0-0 2; R. Grubbs 5 8-14 18; Platek 2 0-0 4; Travaglino 0 0-0 0; Bragg 2 6-6 10; L. Grubbs 0 0-2 0; Lammers 2 1-2 5; Anile 0 0-0 0; Lenhart 1 2-2 5. TOTALS: 13 21-32 48. 3-pointers: Lenhart; Rebounds: 33 (Bragg 13, R. Grubbs 6); Turnovers: 17.

TORONTO (7-10): Spadafora 1 1-2 3; Berger 0 0-0 0; Harrison 2 5-5 10; Robinson 0 0-0 0; Jones 0 0-0 0; Winstel 0 0-0 0; Roberts 0 0-0 0; Bodnar 3 4-4 12; Burkey 0 1-5 1. TOTALS: 7 12-20 29. 3-pointers: Bodnar 2, Harrison; Rebounds 24 (Spadafora 5); Turnovers: 24.