McDonald sophomores come up big
Howard, Costantino combine
for 34 against Mineral Ridge
By Greg Gulas
Don’t talk to McDonald girls coach Amy Dolsak about a sophomore jinx.
Sophomore Molly Howard scored 18 points, classmate Sophia Costantino added 16 and the two combined for all but nine of their team’s points in a 43-36 victory over Mineral Ridge on Thursday night.
“We’re a young team with a lot of potential so the game plan has been to work our hardest at both ends of the court each game we play,” Howard said. “Coach Dolsak tells us not to let anything get to us, not to lose our focus and key on the little things.”
Buckets by Howard, Costantino and Brooke Lewis keyed a 6-0 run by the Blue Devils (5-0, 4-0) for an 11-6 lead after one quarter. The McDonald lead was 19-13 at halftime.
“The key to our start this season is that we are young, have a lot of potential, are talented but work very hard as a group,” Dolsak said. “We still make mistakes executing our game plan, but we fight and are very competitive.”
Costantino’s 3-pointer helped McDonald open a 24-15 margin at 6:15 of the third quarter. She scored eight of 10 points in one stretch, including backto-back triples, as the Blue Devils expanded their lead to 36-24.
“We just needed to stay focused as a team,” Costantino said. “We’ve been playing together for a long time and right now have a nice chemistry.”
Buckets by Kalyn Stricklin, Fran Kesner and Lizzy Pank, and a bucket and two free throws by Alexa Harkins helped the Rams (3-3, 2-2) cut the deficit to 38-34 with 2:06 to play.
But Olivia Perry and Howard each made two foul shots and Costantino split two with nine seconds remaining as McDonald clinched the win.
“I was proud of my team because they played hard the entire game. We cut it to four points in the final quarter but couldn’t get any closer,” Mineral Ridge head coach Matt Cluse said. “We played hard defensively, but couldn’t finish and that’s when you go from a decent team to a good team.
“We didn’t do the little things and that’s where they were better tonight. We’re getting better little by little, now we just have to believe in ourselves.”