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Madonna girls start off sizzling, defeat Toronto on the road

TORONTO — The Madonna girls basketball team delivered a strong defensive performance, while playing a solid game offensively and defeated Toronto, 50-26, Thursday night inside the George J. Kunzler Memorial Gymnasium.

Madonna limited Toronto to single digits in three of the four quarters, and the Red Knights recorded just eight points in the first half.

“We knew coming in with Rusty (Hodgkiss’) girls that they were going to play intense defense,” Madonna (1-0) head coach Rodney Boniti said. “They are going to come at you for 32 minutes. They did that, and we expected them to do that. We had a good first quarter. This was our first game, and that first quarter helped us getting over some jitters. For us to jump out to a 10-3 lead at the end of the first quarter, that was big for us.”

Toronto, which suffered its first defeat in three tries, later trailed by 16 points at halftime.

“I told the kids I felt like we played with them,” Hodgkiss said. “I would have liked to have gone into the locker room and yelled and kicked chairs and thrown things, but I felt like we played with them. They shot the ball a lot better than we did. I looked at the book, and eight field goals and seven free throws is not going to cut it.”

Jazzy Melnyk collected a game-high 16 points for the Blue Dons. Kennedy Martin netted 12 points and pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds. Vanessa Alatis added 10 points.

Riley Kinsey recorded a team-high 14 points to lead Toronto.

The Blue Dons were able to take advantage of their size advantage on both ends of the court.

“We saw some mismatches we liked,” Boniti said. “We had some mismatches inside, and our guards did a great job of getting them the ball and not turning the ball over. They were aggressive with their dribble, and they took advantage of what the defense was giving us. Even with our size advantage, I don’t think we rebounded as well as we should have.

“Overall, against a program like Toronto, I am very pleased with how we played. We were able to hold them to 26 points. To hold a team to that, especially a team that likes to get out and run and score in transition, was big. We had a lot of voids to fill from last year, but I knew these girls have talent. I knew these girls could play.”

Madonna out-rebounded Toronto, 36-23. The Blue Dons also altered and blocked several Red Knight shots.

“Their size bothered us,” Hodgkiss said. “We try to score in transition. We try to get to the rim. We had a hard time scoring. We have no bigs. I think they have three 6-footers. I knew coming in we were going to have a hard time if it was a half-court deal. I knew we would have a hard time scoring, but I didn’t think we would have that hard of a time.”

After taking a 10-3 lead at the end of the first quarter, Madonna increased its advantage to 24-8 at halftime. Kinsey hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to pull her team to within 16.

The Red Knights made a run in the third quarter, but the Blue Dons regrouped and led 34-19 at the end of the quarter.

“We knew when they came out of the locker room with a large deficit that they were going to come out really strong for the first five or six minutes,” Boniti said. “The girls had a bit of a hiccup, but after that we settled in and adjusted and we finished the period nicely.”

The Blue Dons committed 23 turnovers in the game, while the Red Knights had 14. Madonna committed nine turnovers and six fouls in the third frame alone.

Madonna led by as many as 29 points (48-19), while Toronto’s only lead of the game came at 1-0.

UP NEXT

MADONNA: Travels to face city-rival Weir High on Monday. Its home game against Beallsville on Saturday has been canceled.

TORONTO: Travels to Oak Glen on Monday.

Madonna 50, Toronto 26

Madonna 10-14-10-16 — 50

Toronto 3-5-11-7 — 26

MADONNA (1-0): Costello 3 0-0 6; Backel 1 0-0 2; Wingett 0 0-0 0; Melnyk 8 0-0 16; Alatis 4 1-2 10; Moore 2 0-0 4; Martin 5 2-2 12; Martinez 0 0-0 0; Lenhart 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 23, 3-4: 50.

TORONTO (2-1): Cottrell 0 0-1 0; Beckwith 1 0-0 2; Liddick 0 1-2 1; Kinsey 5 3-6 14; M. Anderson 2 1-4 5; Jackson 1 0-0 2; Thomas 0 2-4 2; J. Anderson 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 8, 7-17: 26.

3-POINT GOALS: Madonna 1 (Alatis); Toronto 1 (Kinsey). REBOUNDS: Madonna 36 (Martin 10); Toronto 23 (M. Anderson 7). TURNOVERS: Madonna 23; Toronto 14.

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