MADISON — It was opening night for his team, and Madison girls basketball coach Al Veneziano saw some very good things, and some not-so-good things.

The positives included an aggressive defense, an ability to get a lot of layups, and the composure to handle Carrabec’s best punch in the second half. Those were enough for Madison to defeat the Cobras 52-37 on Monday night.

“I thought we played very hard, and obviously Carrabec played very hard,” Veneziano said. “We didn’t play Friday night, so it’s the first time we’ve been out since last Tuesday.”

Madison senior guard Melissa White, who played for Carrabec the last three seasons, was the game’s high scorer with 11 points. The Bulldogs often broke Carrabec’s pressure for layups, but struggled from outside the paint and shot 30 percent overall. Madison is usually a methodical offensive team, but played a little helter-skelter at times.

“I thought we should have been a little more patient,” Veneziano said. “I thought things would come open if we were a little more patient. We also missed a few bunnies inside, but I really do like the hustle that they put in.”

Madison’s defense forced 32 turnovers as the Bulldogs sometimes substituted five players at a time and kept up the pressure all night. When Carrabec guard Jocelyn Jackson (eight points) had to sit out the final four minutes of the first half with foul trouble, the Bulldogs smothered Carrabec with traps and ended the half on a 12-5 run for a 28-15 lead at the break.

“We’re young at the point guard position, and it’s just a matter of making that transition from JV ball to varsity ball,” first-year Carrabec coach Skip Rugh said. “They’ll do it. Overall, I think from where we started, we’re coming a long way.”

Madison extended that lead to 36-20 with four minutes left in the third quarter, but the Cobras fought back. Megan Cole banked in a 3-pointer and Skyla Murray also hit from downtown. With Emma Pluntke (13 rebounds) and Macy Andrews (12) controlling the boards, Carrabec twice got within seven points before the quarter was over.

“I feel like we just slowed it down,” White said. “We lost our composure for a little bit, and we got into some foul trouble, and I feel like we pulled it together as a team.”

White had eight of her 11 points in the second half, and players like Sam Bruce (eight points), Alex Jarvais, Lyndsay Weese, and Courtney Taylor all made key contributions, enabling Madison to win going away in the fourth quarter.

The one thing Madison could use obvious improvement on from Monday is its free-throw shooting. Carrabec was 7 for 18 at the line, but Madison was 12 for 33, 36 percent.

“We’re going to have to make those to be successful,” Veneziano said. “If they give it to you, you’ve got to take advantage of that.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243
[email protected]

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