STOW — During the month of December, Stow-Munroe Falls girls basketball’s rhythm seemed to be coming in fits and starts.
Veteran coach Bob Podges wasn’t worried.
"Losing early in the year isn’t a bad thing," Podges said. "We’ve been able fix some things. We’ve been playing pretty well over the last few weeks."
Pretty well? During the Bulldogs’ recent win streak, Stow’s average margin of victory has been more than 30 points — and that trend continued Wednesday.
Playing its first home game of 2019, Stow ran Nordonia off the court at James G. Tyree Gymnasium, scoring a 66-32 win over the Knights. On Saturday, Stow headed to Rocky River to face Magificat. Before the snowstorm buried Northeast Ohio, the Bulldogs buried the Blue Streaks 67-38.
Stow ran its win streak to seven games and improved to 11-2, 7-1 in the Suburban League National Conference. Nordonia dropped to 7-9, 4-5 in the National Conference.
Podges said the Bulldogs have been executing the game plan perfectly, as Stow has turned up its transition game.
"One of things I believe is that just because we play pack line defense doesn't mean we can't run," Podges said. "We get the ball up the floor very well. Our passing has been spectacular."
Nordonia coach Julie Buckler tipped her hat to the Bulldogs, while noting her team was not on its "A" game.
"We jus’t didn’t do anything to follow our game plan," Buckler said. "They hit a lot of shots. I think we did a good job playing defense early in the first quarter.
"We didn't have an answer for all of those things [Stow’s transition game]," she added. "I don’t think we were awfully locked in tonight."
Buckler had the Knights in a modified pack line defense of their own to start the game. That kept things close until the shots started falling.
Stow forward Lizzy Stefanov hit a pair of 3-pointers and a layup late to lead Stow to an 18-12 advantage after one quarter. Stefanov had a big night on both ends, finishing with a game-high 20 points and 10 rebounds.
"I felt like we started the game really strong and were able to just keep it up," Stefanov said. "We try to move the ball forward a lot this year."
In the second quarter, Stow’s defensive intensity increased, as the Bulldogs allowed Nordonia only on field goal in quarter. It came on a layup from Hallie Majoros to end a 9-1 Stow run.
Majoros led the Knights with 12 points.
Bulldogs guard Emily Andrassy was a constant irritant for the Knights. The senior finished with 14 points and five steals on the night, many of which resulted in layups for the Bulldogs.
"She's of those players that you love to see, but hate to play against," Buckler said.
It all added up to 32-15 halftime lead for the Bulldogs.
Stow was just getting started, as Andrassy keyed an 11-0 Stow run to start the second half.
Despite putting his reserves to end the third quarter, Podges saw Stow take a 54-31 lead after three quarters.
Nordonia finally found a bit of its offense early in the fourth quarter, but it was too little, too late. Knight forward Madison Cluse was held to just five points and seven rebounds.
"We tried a some different things to try and get [Cluse] the ball," Buckler said. "I give [Stow] credit for their defense. We didn’t seem to have five people on the same page tonight."
Nordonia’s Sion Williams finished with seven points, but she was kept in check until the fourth quarter by Stow forward Kira Philpot.
While guarding the smaller, quicker Willams, Philpott did a lot of dirty work for the Bulldogs. She finished with six points, nine rebounds, two steals and two blocked shots.
"Since the night after last year’s final game, Kira has worked hard to get better," Podges said. "She’s been in the gym every day. She had turned herself into a very reliable player."
"Kira is wonderful," Stefanov said. "It’s really nice to have someone else who’s tall, can move and can rebound."
Stow also got 10 points from Lilee Carlson, while point guard Lexi Petit had four points, seven assists and three steals.
In the win over Maginifcat, Stow led 12-4 after one quarter and 30-15 at halftime only to see the gap widen from there.
Andrassy led the Bulldogs with 17, while Petit put up 13 points, including three 3-pointers. Philpot finished with 10 points.
Due to previous cancellations, Stow has a busy week ahead of it. The Bulldogs were set to travel to Twinsburg Saturday at 11:30 a.m.
Stow will travel to Cuyahoga Falls Monday at 7 p.m. and Hudson Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.
"It’s good to play three games in five days, because we’ve practiced way too much this year," Podges said.
Meanwhile, Nordonia was set to host Brecksville-Broadview Heights Saturday at 2:30 p.m.
The Knights will travel to Cuyahoga Falls Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.
Reporter Michael Leonard can be reached at 330-541-9442, email@example.com or @MLeonard_RPC