One game into the 2016-17 season, Stow-Munroe Falls girls basketball already made history.

The Bulldogs travelled to Wadsworth Dec. 3 to face the defending Division I state champions and came home with a decisive win.

Stow scored a 53-35 win over the Grizzlies, handing Wadsworth their first loss against Suburban League opposition in 89 games.

Stow looked to keep the momentum going when it travelled to Nordonia Dec. 7. The Bulldogs did just that, as they scored a 51-37 victory over the Knights, who beat Stow twice last season.

Stow improved to 2-0, 2-0 in the Suburban League National Conference, while Nordonia dropped to 2-2,1-1 in the National Conference.

Stow coach Bob Podges said the Bulldogs had everything working against Wadsworth.

"We played exceptionally well on both sides of the ball," Podges said. "We shot 52 percent from the field. We committed only eight turnovers and they pressed us this entire game."

Stow was able to take a 17-5 lead after one quarter and controlled the contest from there.

"We started the fourth quarter with a 12-point lead," Podges said. "I told them I wanted them to pass until we got a layup. We made 19 passes before they fouled us."

Junior guard Theresa Parr had an excellent all-around game, finishing with 15 points, 10 rebounds and six assists.

Sophomores Lizzy Stefanov and Emily Andrassy each had 11 points for Stow, while senior forward Lauren Turschak had eight points.

Wadsworth's Peyton Banks led all scorers with 16 points.

Stow finished with a slight 27-26 rebounding edge, but Podges said the Bulldogs shot so well that rebounding wasn't a factor.

Against Nordonia, the Bulldogs weren't close to shooting 50 percent from the field, but another big first quarter allowed Stow to take command of the contest early.

"I thought we were in control most of the night," Podges said. "This early season is about learning. We have to learn how to have a little patience. Instead of looking for a good shot, make a pass and make it a great shot."

Knights coach Julie Buckler said the Bulldogs overwhelmed her young team.

"They're a very disciplined team on both ends of the floor," Buckler said. "They came out with an energy that we just couldn't match.

"I think a lot of what happened to us, we did to ourselves," she added. "We've yet to learn the little things we need to do to be successful."

After Nordonia hit the first two buckets of the game, Stow finished the first quarter on a 16-3 run. Parr picked up where she left off against Wadsworth, as she hit four jumpers in the quarter.

Parr finished tied for the team high with 16 points.

Both teams had problems scoring in the second quarter, as the tight rims at Nordonia forced many a shot to rim out.

"We can't worry about that," Podges said. "We were getting good looks, but they just weren't going in."

The Bulldogs didn't hit a three-pointer in the first half, but still maintained a 24-14 lead at the half.

Buckler said her team's inexperience showed vs. Stow, especially on the boards. Stow finished with a sizable rebounding advantage, as Stefanov finished with 12 rebounds, while Andrassy had eight rebounds and Turschak had six.

Andrassy opened the third quarter with a three-pointer and didn't stop scoring from there. She put up 14 of her team-high 16 points in the third and made life miserable for the Knights' guards.

Nordonia guard Soliel Barnes did what she could on the offensive end. Barnes finished with a game-high 17 points, but had to work hard to get them.

"We know Barnes is going to get her points, we just need to make sure nobody else gets 20," Podges said.

After Stow forward Lindsey Molnar opened the fourth quarter with a three-pointer, the Bulldogs slowed the pace of the game and led by as many as 50-30 midway through the fourth. While the Knights tried to chip away, the lead was never in danger.

Nordonia guard Sandra Spellmen hit a trio of three-pointers to finish with nine points, but no other Knight had more than four points.

A combination of foul trouble and Turschak's defense took Nordonia forward Lizzie Imrie out of the game. After scoring 20 points against Hudson in her previous game, Imrie was held to two points in the loss.

Stow was set to play its home opener against Twinsburg Dec. 10, but results were not available at press time.

Stow has dates with its two closest rivals this week. The Bulldogs will host Hudson Dec. 14 at 7 p.m. before traveling to Cuyahoga Falls Dec. 17 at 2:30 p.m.


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