The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

Warriors dump Bridgeport


PCM / For The Sun-Telegraph

Natalie Cruise beats her mark and heads toward the paint.

For the first nine minutes it looked as though it could be a long night for the Warriors.

But as the second quarter got underway, Leyton turned up the heat offensively and clamped down on the other end of the court to wrest control over the Bridgeport Bulldogs and claim a 44-37 decision in a non-district battle on the road Tuesday night.

Though opening the second half the Bulldogs threatened to undo all the Warriors hard work of the previous period, Leyton turned back the brief challenge after withstanding the opponent's 7-0 run.

The win advanced the Leyton record to 4-5, while they maintain a 2-0 mark in District D2 11. The Bulldogs, of Class C2, dropped to 1-10 on the year.

Diedra Waite led the Warriors in scoring with 17 points, 11 coming in the final quarter. Natalie Cruise added 11 points - including a momentum changing three pointer midway through the second quarter. Kaitlyn Berner aided the offense with a team high 5 assists.

Defensively, Kelsey Waite proved a major problem for the Bulldogs as she turned away 8 Bulldogs shots. Younger sister Diedra had a pair of blocks. Katy Ernest led the rebounders with 7 while Cruise added 6, Shaela Jenkins 5 and Kelsey Waite 4.

"After the slow start we had to keep working to get good shots and we started to get some off in the second quarter," said Diedra Waite. "The third quarter started pretty rough. I think we came out in the second half playing not to lose instead of playing to win."

With the 'Dogs holding a 7-2 lead after the first quarter Ernest dropped in a layup to begin the comeback. Ultimately, Leyton opened the second quarter with a 9-2 run to take its first lead of the game.

Buckets by Diedra Waite and Ernest brought the Warriors to within one. While Cruise's lead-changing three followed, part of the credit goes to Kelsey Waite after her shot block at the other end gave Leyton possession. Seconds later, Cruise handed the Warriors their first lead of the game.

Though once tied afterwards, the Warriors were never again behind.

"We started to play better as a team in the second quarter," said Cruise. "Once we started passing the ball around we found more open shots."

A pair of layups by Jenkins, another by Diedra Waite and a short jumper from Cruise led the Warriors to finish out the second period with a 19-12 lead.

Bridgeport's Kassidy Kildow proved problematic for the Warriors as the second half opened. Her 5 points were part of a Bulldogs 7-0 run that tied the score at 19. The momentum slowed for the Bulldogs, however, when a pair of missed free throws were followed by a Diedra Waite block of Olga Aguilar.

Twenty seconds after the Waite block, Cruise converted on a pair of free throws and Berner buried a trey. Though Bridgeport kept it close the rest of the way, the Warriors never looked back after retaking the lead.

"We talked about how we have to be pumped up to get the win," said Kelsey Waite. "Opening the third quarter we went back to our slow start. We tried to change our press breakers and it didn't work as well as we'd hoped."

Diedra Waite's hot hand and affinity for the glass in the fourth quarter helped forestall any Bridgeport comeback attempts. At one point Waite went on a personal 6-point run - with two shots banked off the backboard - to establish a 10-point lead. During the final frame she sank four bankers.

The Warriors biggest lead of the game was 12 after Ernest backed up her defender after posting up. Ernest's turn-around pop extended the Leyton lead to 43-31. The Bulldogs 6-1 run to end the game came much too late.

Though an out-of-district game, Leyton faces a big rivalry match up on Friday when they travel to Potter-Dix.

Girls Basketball

Leyton 44

Bridgeport 37


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