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Basketball: Bulls sweep Eagles – Bridgeport wraps up 8-4A title

By Richard Greene | Published Wednesday, February 11, 2015
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After the Decatur Eagles erased an 11-point, third-quarter deficit to tie the game, the Bridgeport Bulls used the final 78 seconds of the frame to put their stamp on it.

BATTLING INSIDE – Decatur freshman Mason Hix tries to grab a rebound away from Bridgeport’s Keenan Holdman and Caleb Smith Friday during the Bulls’ district-clinching victory. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Back-to-back 3-pointers from Andrew Horton and Caleb Smith ignited a 10-2 run to close the frame and put the Bulls back up eight. Behind that surge, the fifth-ranked Bulls went on to complete the season sweep of the No. 15 Eagles with the 65-54 victory at Decatur High School gym.

“What I told our guys is big-time players make big-time plays. These guys did,” said Bridgeport coach Alan Green.

“What a great atmosphere. These are the type of games that you want to compete in. I’m proud of my guys. They’ve worked so hard in practice and come together. I’m just really proud of them.”

Bridgeport (25-4, 6-0) took a two-game lead on Decatur and wrapped up at least a share of the District 8-4A title.

“This means a lot, but we’re not satisfied. We have bigger goals,” said Bridgeport junior Keenan Holdman, who led all scorers with 21 points to go along with his eight rebounds. “We are also not going to discount this win in a tough place against a good team. It’s another step moving forward.”

Holdman had 10 points in the fourth quarter to help the Bulls put the game away.

Decatur (21-10, 4-2) remains in second place in the district with two games left. Decatur coach Drew Coffman felt his team showed some things they can build on Friday.

“I was proud of our fight. We were disappointed the first time we played them. We didn’t feel like we competed like we should have,” Coffman said. “We learned a lot about ourselves [tonight]. We’re as good as anyone in this region if we play well and compete.”

TIGHT DEFENSE – Bridgeport’s Keenan Holdman guards Decatur’s Cade Lamirand during the Bulls’ win Friday. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Decatur came out firing, taking an 11-4 lead just more than four minutes in. Horton then hit the first of his two big 3-pointers that ignited a 9-0 run for Bridgeport to end the first quarter with the Bulls up 13-11.

Horton had eight points, going 3-for-3 from the field.

“Those were two huge shots Andrew had for us,” Green said. “Like we talked about after the first game with Jacob [Delangel], when you do things right and work hard, you shouldn’t be surprised by success.”

Bridgeport locked down defensively, holding Decatur to just three field goals in the second quarter, building the lead to as many as 13. The Bulls took a 29-18 lead into halftime.

“You win the game on the defensive end,” said Holdman, who helped lead the defensive effort in the second, while also scoring nine of the Bulls’ 16 points in the frame.

Decatur senior Holt Garner got dialed in on the perimeter in the third quarter, knocking down three 3-pointers in five trips down the floor in a 12-2 run that trimmed the Bulls’ lead to one.

“Holt got hot for a stretch and it opened things up,” Coffman said.

Decatur tied the game at 38 with Parker Hicks’ putback with 1:36 remaining in the third. The tie lasted only 18 seconds before Bridgeport put together the game-defining spurt that included a trey and pair of layups for Smith, who finished with 19 points.

Decatur never could make another run as Bridgeport tightened up the defense again.

“We didn’t shoot well in the first half and that opened opportunities. But once we did hit a few shots, they reacted accordingly,” Garner said. “Toward the end, we didn’t focus enough on getting the ball inside.

“They are a good test. That’s the caliber of teams we’ll be looking at in a few weeks. We learned what we need to work on.”

BRIDGEPORT 65, DECATUR 54

Bridgeport … 13 … 16 … 19 … … 17 – 65
Decatur … 11 … 7 … 22 … … 14 – 54

Bridgeport (25-4, 6-0) – Jacob Delangel 11, Keenan Holdman 21, Caleb Smith 19, Andrew Horton 8, Chayton Stotts 6.

Decatur (21-10, 4-2) – Holt Garner 9, Parker Hicks 13, Cade Lamirand 11, Aaron Shetter 6, Ethan Sij 2, Mason Hix 13.

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