By GREG GULAS
AUSTINTOWN -- Amber Bodrick scored 15 points and Aieshya Dixon had a double-double -- 12 points and 12 rebounds -- as Cardinal Mooney High posted an 80-32 victory over Chaney in the first round of the Division II girls sectional basketball tournament at Fitch High Monday night.
"Defense has been our strength the past two years and that was what worked for us tonight as well," Cardinals coach Roy Nard said. "We started slow, kind of like we were just going through the motions but picked it up in the second half.
Mooney (14-7) made 31 of 64 shots (48.4 percent) and advanced to a sectional final against third-seeded Rayen School Thursday night.
"As a team we're barely shooting 40 percent this year," said Nard. "To shoot like we did tonight and have 11 players score for us is a big bonus."
Chaney (8-13) made just 12 of 43 shots (27.9 percent).
"It's tough to play catch-up on a team like Cardinal Mooney," Chaney coach Tim Bakos said. "They are an excellent team and have more than one weapon in their arsenal. They run the court really well and their defense was the reason for no flow in our offense. Our free throw shooting hurt us as well."
The Cowgirls made only 8-for-30 at the foul line (26.7 percent).
Damiano keys run
Adrienne Peace scored the opening bucket of the game 48 seconds into the game to give Chaney its only lead of the game. Natalie Damiano's four points ignited a 10-0 run by the Cardinals, who led 18-8 after the first quarter.
"We had a balanced scoring attack all season long and tonight was no different," Nard said. "We don't have what you would define a leading scorer, but offensively we have four or five players who have stepped up at different times this year.
"It was good to get a game like this under your belt before playing a team like Rayen. They are deserving of a number three seed and we know that we will have our work cut our for us Thursday night."
Bodrick, who came off the bench to also grab six rebounds and block three shots, and Dixon both scored six points in the second quarter, as the Cardinals took a 35-17 lead at the intermission.
"Their man-to-man defense gave us problems all night," Bakos said. "They held us in check throughout the first half but credit our girls as they refused to give up.
"We're a young team, already looking forward to next year."
Strong third period
The Cardinals, with the help of six points from sophomore Gina Brunetti, outscored Chaney 18-2 in the third quarter to build a 53-19 lead.
Senior Jamie Woytek sank a 3-pointer with 2:55 remaining in the game to give Mooney a 65-22 lead. Kacie Kubik scored all seven of her points in the final 2:29 to spark a 15-10 run, pacing the Cardinals to their 48-point margin.
Led by Dixon, Mooney held a 46-26 rebound advantage. The Cards forced 31 turnovers, but committed 19 of their own, a figure Nard said they must reduce to have a shot at beating Rayen.
Joselyn Parker was the only player in double figures for the Cowgirls with 17.