SPORTS HEADLINES

Givens, Eagles shoot down Bulls; Junior posts double-double in 9-3A opener

By Richard Greene | Published Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Decatur Eagles opened with a 10-1 run in the first two minutes and never looked back Friday night.

DEFENDING THE BASKET – Decatur’s Paul Walker challenges the shot of Bridgeport’s Stephen Howdeshell during the Eagles’ win Friday. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Decatur shot a sizzling 54 percent from the field (28-for-48), cruising to a 67-33 victory over the rival Bridgeport Bulls in the District 9-3A opener at Decatur High School gym.

“It was a good start. We wanted to get on them early,” said Decatur senior Austin Givens. “It was the opening game of district and my last first time to play Bridgeport.”

Givens led the way for Decatur (18-5, 1-0) pouring in 21 points along with grabbing 13 rebounds.

“He’s played well lately,” said Decatur coach Drew Coffman. “Before Christmas he had a couple of big games, and then he had the 24 points against Burkburnett.”

Givens hit a pair of 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to push Decatur’s lead to 62-28 with 3:56 remaining. He hit three treys for the evening.

“Everything was going down tonight,” he said.

He and Decatur’s other starters spent the rest of the game on the bench.

Givens and Taylor Clayton each drained 3-pointers in that opening run the put Bridgeport (10-11, 0-1) playing catch-up all night.

“It’s hard to replicate how they play the game,” said Bridgeport coach Alan Green. “We felt we were prepared. Then we stepped on the floor. It took us a minute to catch up to their speed.”

After Holt Garner hit his squad’s third 3-pointer of the opening frame, Decatur led 15-5.

“We worked all week in practice on our shooting,” Givens said. “We knew they were going to zone us, and we had to shoot well to get them out of it.”

Bridgeport made a run in the middle of the second quarter. Derek Stanford’s trey pulled the Bulls within 8, 20-12. But they couldn’t get any closer, missing shots inside. Bridgeport finished 10-for-47, 21 percent.

“From the end of the first quarter to the middle of the second, we had our chances to score and get back in it; and we couldn’t make the shot,” Green said. “You have to credit Coach Coffman and the way his team plays defense.”

Decatur built the lead back to 12, 31-19, at halftime. The Eagles put the game away with a 13-2 run to start the third quarter, capped by Garner’s second 3-pointer. Decatur outscored Bridgeport 15-6 in the frame to build a 46-25 lead.

Paul Walker joined Givens in double figures for the Eagles with 12. He scored eight in the second half.

Stanford was the lone Bull in double figures with 10. Stephen Howdeshell added nine.

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