Chris Esterak got an early Christmas present Dec. 19.
The Woodridge girls basketball coach was happy to see his girls fight through some fourth quarter adversity and defeat host Rootstown 47-36.
With the victory, the Bulldogs are 3-5 overall and 3-2 in the Portage Trail Conference County Division.
Esterak said the players just need to get comfortable with each other.
"I believe that this is a special group of players," Esterak said.
In the win over the Rovers, the Bulldogs led from start to finish, but had to overcome not having center Lizzie Wilkinson for five minutes of the fourth quarter after she got into foul trouble.
Wilkinson finished the game with a double-double -- 20 points and 10 rebounds. Kara Kelleher scored four points, but had a monster game rebounding and she hauled in 19 boards.
Guard Abbe Esterak had a balanced game, scoring eight points and dishing out seven assists.
"Abbe really set the tempo with good penetration inside," Esterak said.
It was also a good game for Alex LoPriunzi, who had eight points and seven reounds.
The coach said losing Morgan Thompson and another injury has hurt the team's progress.
"We had to move Kapri Watson from sixth man to starter and we had to play at Garrettsville [39-33 loss Dec. 15] with Kapri, which hurts our outside shooting and left Abbe [Esterak] without another ball-handler," Esterak said. "Give Garrettsville credit, they did a good job of being aggressive."
In the loss, Wilkinson and Esterak combined for 27 of the 33 points, as Wilkinson had 17 points and Esterak had 10.
The Bulldogs were set to participate in the Our Lady of the Elms Hoops4Habit Tournament. Woodridge was set to face the host Panthers Dec. 28 and Rittman Dec. 29, but results weren't available at press time.
Up next for the Bulldogs is a home contest with Orange Jan. 2. Varsity tip time is set for 7:30 p.m.