August Fagerstrom

STOW: Stow put together a solid team effort in a 50-43 victory over Medina in front of a home crowd Tuesday night.

The Bulldogs started the season off on the right foot, but had to come from behind to do so.

The Bees (0-1) got out to a 14-8 first-quarter lead, thanks to six points from senior forward Madison Tata.

Tata, the tallest girl on the court, led all players with 16 points and also had seven rebounds, three steals and two blocks.

However, she was held to only two points in the second and third quarter as the Bulldogs were able to build a lead.

“None of these seniors are used to starting and used to being the ones with the ball in their hand for the whole game,” first-year Medina coach Karen Kase said. “We’ve got to sharpen up some things and keep our focus for the entire game.”

The Bulldogs outscored the Bees 13-6 in the first quarter, taking a 21-20 lead into the locker room at halftime.

“We showed a lot of grit in being able to come back after they got an early lead and get a lead before halftime,” Stow coach Bob Podges said. “We were able to maintain our composure.”

The Bulldogs, who don’t have a “star player,” received notable contributions from all five starters and bench player Jessica Stout to fuel the comeback and maintain the lead.

Christina Vaughan scored 11 points and Madison Baer had 10. Stout scored only two points, but had four assists, three rebounds and a block. Senior Danielle Tiller led the Bulldogs (1-0) in scoring with 15 points.

“Danielle used to be a post player for us and we’re working her into a three-guard spot now,” Podges said. “She’s got a great perimeter shot and she’s done a very nice job of handling the basketball from her position. She’s turned herself into a very valuable player for us.”

The Bees used their size advantage to outrebound the Bulldogs 31-20, led by Liz Jones’ eight rebounds. However, their advantage on the glass was neutralized by the turnover margin, where Medina had 22 to Stow’s 13.

“The style that we play is get out and go so there’s going to be some turnovers,” Kase said. “But 22 is too many.”

The defensive front for Stow was led by Vaughan with five steals and senior guard Samantha Shaver with three.

The game was close until the very end, with Stow having just a one-point lead with under two minutes to play at 44-43.

Vaughan came up with her fifth steal at midcourt in a half-court trap and found junior forward Meghan Preston under the hoop for a layup that gave the Bulldogs a 46-43 lead with 1:12 remaining.

The Bees weren’t able to get another basket, and Vaughan and Tiller each made two free throws at the end to seal the victory.

“It’s tough to start your first game of the season with an opponent like Stow,” Kase said. “We’ve just got to learn to play from the beginning to the end.”

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