Red Knights lose to Bulldogs 56-43

TORONTO – Donnie Cash in a zone defense?

Believe it.

The Bridgeport basketball team earned a nice road win, 56-43, at Toronto Friday night.

“Our kids’ work ethic has been great the last week and a half when we’ve been trying to preach and preach and preach,” said Cash. “We didn’t play zone at all the first half of the year, but we’ve switched to it and it’s been helping us the past couple of games. I think we’ve found something and we’re going to stick with it.”

Toronto coach John Leary watched the Bulldogs play zone at Steubenville Central last week and was a bit taken aback.

“He played a 2-3 zone the whole night and, to me, that’s a change for them,” Leary said. “He’s usually a man-to-man guy. We all try to do what’s best for our team and it’s obvious playing a zone is what’s best for their team.

“If anybody was scouting us tonight, I would think they would play us zone. Tonight, Bridgeport basically said, ‘shoot it and beat us.’ We shot it and didn’t beat them.

“We were a little impatient at times. I wanted us to work the ball a little more. Coaches always say you have to make shots and we didn’t. We had some really good looks and we didn’t make enough of the good looks that we had.”

Bridgeport (3-10) played that 2-3 zone in a 49-46 loss to Shadyside that gave the Tigers fits.

“I think we were 7-for-28 in the first half,” Leary said after the Red Knights fell to 6-6. “Obviously, you’re not going to win too many games shooting the ball like that.

“But, give coach Cash and his kids credit for that. His kids played really well tonight.”

The Bulldogs opened a 12-6 lead after eight minutes thatnks to eight points from Jon Krieter. They pushed that lead to 23-15 at the break after Parker Dyson netted five in the second frame.

Bridgeport put a lid on it with a 19-10 outburst in the third period with Q.J. Williams scoring six in a balanced quarter scoring attack, when seven players scored.

“The last couple of games, even though we came up short with Steubenville Central and Shadyside, two pretty good teams, we’ve been playing four quarters,” said Cash. “We didn’t do that earlier in the year. We were playing well in stretches, but not four quarters.

“We play three seniors and five sophomores, so what we do is kind of a learning experience, with Dallas Fields being the most experienced guy out there. We’re learning. We’re trying to get better each game.

“We were 2-10 in the first half of the year. We’re just trying to go 1-0 each time and build momentum heading into the tournament.”

Kreiter led the way with a 15 points. Williams and Aaron Roth, who hit two big treys in the fourth period, added 10 each. Dyson finished with nine.

Tyler Owens paced Toronto with 16. Brad Melville delivered 11.

“I was proud of how our kids came back in the fourth quarter,” said Leary. “I think that travel call was big there (in the fourth) because it erased a possible three-point play.

“But, no excuses. We have to shoot the ball better. I know no one missed on purpose. But, in order to take the next step, we have to be able to knock down those open shots more consistently.”

Bridgeport goes to Weirton Madonna tonight, Cameron Tuesday and welcomes the Blue Dons Friday.

Toronto visits Southern Local Tuesday and entertains Bishop Donahue Thursday and St. John Central Friday.