BRIDGEPORT - River's revenge tour continued Monday night in in a matchup of OVAC leaders.
The Pilots (14-3) avenged an earlier loss to the Bulldogs by a 55-41 count before a huge, and boisterous, crowd inside the John J. Havlicek Gymnasium. They had also knocked off Fort Frye after suffering a loss in their first meeting.
In the process, River, which sits atop the OVAC Class 3A standings, ended state-ranked Bridgeport's unbeaten streak at 12 straight. The Bulldogs, who lead Class 2A, had claimed a 44-42, victory back in December in Hannibal.
River’s Laken Ramsay goes into the lane against Bridgeport’s Kaitlyn Kroll during action of their game Monday night.
"We've got two down and one to go," River coach Rick Isaly said of the paybacks. "But we've got three other games in there. We can't look ahead to the Shadyside game. We've got St. Clairsville, Caldwell and Shenandoah yet."
The Pilots navigated their way to a 11-4 advantage after one period as freshman sensation Jensen Caretti set the tone early with six of her game-leading 22 markers.
Four quick points by the 6-foot, 15-year-old and a bucket by senior Laken Ramsay bumped the margin to 10, 17-7, early in the second quarter.
Following a timeout, the Bulldogs went on the only sustained offensive surge of the game. A 11-point run, fueled by junior Nicole Smolenak's seven points, pulled the hosts back into things.
Brittany Higgenbotham's basket in the paint gave the Bulldogs an 18-17 edge with 4:14 left in the half, but River scored eight of the final 12 points to lead 27-22 at the half.
"That's the only time we had the lead. That's a good team and we got lucky beating them down there," Bridgeport coach Rob Zitzelsberger said. "We were out of sync for most of the night, and their pressure defense had a lot to do with that. Everything they did hurt us."
An eight-point spurt to start the third quarter made it a 13-point game, and Bridgeport would get no closer than six the remainder of the contest.
Caretti evenly spaced her 22 points, scoring four in the second period and six each in the third and fourth quarters. She was 10 of 14 from the floor, pulled down a game-best 14 rebounds, handed out four assists and charted three steals.
"Jensen is a player," Isaly said with a smile. "She really played well."
She was backed by Ramsay's 16 points. Cassidy McCullough chipped in a dozen. Ramsay and McCullough evenly divided 12 rebounds, while Emilee Weaver grabbed seven and Haylee Bowers five despite missing most of the second quarter with foul trouble.
River shot 50 percent from the floor (23-46). The Pilots led 45-35 off the glass and had five more turnovers at 20-15.
Smolenak, who picked up two quick fouls but didn't record another, and Murad each had 13 points. Caitlyn Kroll added 11. Kroll also collected 10 rebounds.
Bridgeport shot a miserable 17-for-59 (28.8 percent) from the floor, while misfiring on 9 of 16 free throws.