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Sharpshooting leads McDonald past Lordstown, 56-40

McDONALD — It’s time for another high school basketball season.

The Lordstown Red Devils and McDonald Blue Devils got their seasons started with a clash on Tuesday and McDonald prevailed 56-40, at home, in a matchup between a pair of virtually brand new teams.

McDonald doesn’t return a starter from last year but the Blue Devils never rebuild, they just reload.

“We have guys that have never played varsity basketball,” McDonald coach James Franceschelli said. “Our goal is to win. In McDonald, there’s a tradition here. These guys know what’s expected from them.”

Junior Gregory Costantino (game-high 24 points) brought back memories of two Blue Devil basketball legends, his sister Sophia Costantino and 3-point record holder Zach Rasile, by nailing eight 3-pointers on the night.

“I was prepared to come out and do what I did,” Costantino said. “Shooting from deep has always been my game. My sister taught me a few things. We’re really excited. We’re good when we work as a team. Thanks to my teammates for getting me the ball. Those were all catch-and-shoot.”

The game got off to a tight start. Lordstown built an early lead and McDonald came back to take a 14-11 advantage to the second quarter.

“Hats off to Lordstown,” Franceschelli said. “They’re not a bad basketball team by any means. Coach Force does a great job. They were prepared.”

Costantino hit a 3-point shot from the corner, to make it 20-13. Then, junior Nolan Agler made one from behind the arc and senior Mathew Porter scored underneath. McDonald led 28-20 at halftime.

Senior Michael Porter, who added 20 points, nailed one from long distance as the Blue Devils began to pull away in third. McDonald went ahead 39-25 heading to the fourth.

“It’s been a process for us,” Franceschelli said. “We need some game experience. We made a lot of 3’s tonight. That was something that we didn’t know if we were going to have this year. Guys are stepping up.”

McDonald finished with 13 from downtown in the contest and Costantino added a couple more in the fourth.

Derek Wilson had a team-high 14 points for Lordstown. Sophomore J.T. Adams pulled down a rebound and senior Kaden Anthony added 13 points for the new look Red Devils.

Anthony is the only returning starter as Lordstown has some fresh athleticism with new starters like Eddie Nieves.

“We’re starting two sophomores and a freshman,” Lordstown coach Brian Force said. “We know we’re young. We’re learning on the court as we go.

“McDonald shot the ball really well. They executed in the half court and we couldn’t stop them. I think we’re an exciting team and we’re looking to improve every day.”

sports@vindy.com

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