Meadville is traditionally known for its physicality in girls basketball.

The Lady Bulldogs play in-your-face defense and scrap and dive for every loose ball. Offensively, they are aggressive. They are not afraid to drive the ball into the paint and use their bodies to create shots under the basket.

And judging from the Bulldogs’ season opener against Central Tech at the Sertoma Tip-off Tournament on Friday at the House of Thrills, little is going to change in 2011-12. It just might take a little bit longer for it all to click.

Meadville got off to a rough start, allowing Central Tech to build a 26-16 lead at halftime, but did pull it together in the second half. The Falcons, though, were able to hold on down the stretch to capture a 42-36 win to advance to today’s title game where they will take on Seneca at 7:30 p.m.

Meadville falls into the consolation final and will take on rival Saegertown at 6 p.m.

“I came away from the game feeling pretty good about it,” Meadville coach Darryl Jones said. “It is what it is. I just think the kids played hard. They never gave up. And even at the end we were getting them to turn over the ball.

“It was just the slow start that we got off to. I think they’re ready to come out and play ball against Saegertown (today). And we’re going to come out and try to get our first win.”

The end result was not for lack of effort on the Bulldogs’ part. Central at one point led 21-8 and took a 26-16 advantage into the locker room at halftime. But Meadville’s defense shut down the Falcons in the third quarter. In fact, Central was held scoreless through the first six-plus minutes and did not score a field goal until there was less than a minute to play in the period.

The Bulldogs, meanwhile, were able to get something going offensively and managed to pull to within a point (26-25) with 2:43 to play in the third. But that is as close as they would get.

Meadville outscored the Falcons 18-16 in the second half.

“They didn’t quit on themselves,” Jones said. “They didn’t quit on their teammates. They played hard. And that’s what I was encouraged about for the first game.”

Marcadi McCoy led the Bulldogs with eight points and 10 rebounds. DaQueisha Epps had an outstanding night all around. She finished with seven points, 14 rebounds and five blocks and contributed to many of the 28 turnovers Meadville forced on the night.

Hannah Sebastian, Noelle Vallimont and Abigail Klemm had 11 points each for Central.

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