Madonna boys suffer defeat

WEIRTON — What a difference a night makes.

The Madonna boys basketball team opened its season Friday night by knocking off unbeaten Steubenville Catholic Central, but Saturday night was a different story. The Blue Dons got knocked from the unbeaten ranks as Bridgeport invaded the Dubie Dome and hung a 75-60 loss on them.

The Bulldogs (2-2), who were playing their fourth straight game on the road, pressured the Blue Dons (1-1) and forced 23 turnovers.

Down 20-14 after the first quarter, the Blue Dons rode a second quarter surge into halftime with a 37-36 lead. They got that lead on a last second rebound and putback by Chayce Lemley.

“Hats off to Bridgeport,” said Madonna coach Chris Blair when asked what the difference was in the performance of the two nights. “They had five guys that could put the ball on the floor and shoot from behind the arc. They presented a special challenge when they had five guys that could score.

“They attacked and shot the ball extremely well. We were undisciplined on defense. They took it to us. We have to go back to the drawing board, work on our offense against the pressure because we play at Weir High Tuesday, and we know they like to pressure on defense. So do a lot of other teams, so I told the kids they better get used to it.”

Veteran Bridgeport coach Don Cash said it scouted Madonna Friday against Catholic Central and decided that putting on the defensive pressure was the way to go.

“We really don’t have a big inside, so our focus in the preseason was getting out and running the floor and pressing on defense,” he said. “That allows us to use our team speed to the best of our ability. The last two years, we haven’t been a good half court offensive team, so we’re looking to get out on transition more and push the ball, which I thought we did more tonight.

“We had a week off, and that benefited us compared to Madonna playing two nights in a row. The second half, I thought we clamped down on defense a whole lot better. We pressed, but we didn’t jump and take chances. We just played solid defense and got to the loose balls. We didn’t make shots in the first half, but we made them down the stretch.”

Bridgeport outscored the Blue Dons 25-16 in the fourth quarter.

The Bulldogs ended up with five players in double figures led by Macrae Doyle’s 27 points, who got loose for numerous layups. Trevon Ray came off the bench to join J. M. Simmons with 13 points. Mannix Doyle and Jeremiah Booker each scored 10.

For the Blue Dons, it was freshman Lucky Pulice leading the way with 24 points as he repeatedly drove the lane. He was the only Madonna player in double figures. Junior Gavin Dietrich scored seven.

“The jump Macrea Doyle has made from the end of last year till now is awesome,” Cash said. “He is a kid that showed up every day in the summer. He put the hard work in. He worked on his game and got better and faster. I’m happy for him, but I’m happy for everybody involved because the past years we haven’t had a lot of success. We were 2-21 and 5-18 last year.

“We told them in the preseason that we have to learn to win before we win. We’re getting there. I like this team.”

Pulice had seven points in his debut against the Crusaders Friday night but stepped it up in the loss.

“He’s a threat,” Blair said. “He has a lot of ability. He works hard. It’s only his second game, but I believe he has a bright future. He’s got some things to work on. He had the hot hand so we rode him a little bit and we appreciate his effort.”

Game notes:

¯ The Bulldogs will make their home debut Tuesday against the River Pilots.

Bridgeport 75, Madonna 60

Bridgeport 20-16-14-25 — 75

Madonna 14-23-7-16 — 60

BRIDGEPORT (2-2): Ray 5 2-3 13; Booker 3 2-3 10; Mac. Doyle 12 2-6 27; Simmons 4 4-4 13; Man. Doyle 3 3-5 10; Stark 1 0-0 2. TOTALS: 28 13-21 75. 3-POINT GOALS: 6 (Booker 2, Ray7, Mac. Doyle, Simmons, Man. Doyle); REBOUNDS: 18 (Mac. Doyle 8); TURNOVERS: 15.

MADONNA (1-1): Lenhart 1 0-0 2; Lemley 2 0-0 4; Dietrich 3 0-0 7; Gurrera 1 4-4 6; Ridgeway 3 0-0 6; Boniti 1 0-0 2; Sellitti 1 0-0 3; L. Pulice 10 3-3 24; Mazur 3 0-1 6. TOTALS: 25 7-8 60. 3-POINT GOALS: 3 (Dietrich, Sellitti, L. Pulice; REBOUNDS: 33 (Dietrich, Ridgeway, Sellitti 5 each); TURNOVERS: 23.