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Basketball: Slamming door shut – Bulls sweep Eagles with fast start

By Richard Greene | Published Wednesday, February 10, 2016
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An injured ankle took Bridgeport’s Keenan Holdman off the court for two games.

SLAMMING IT HOME – Bridgeport’s Devonte Patterson dunks the ball during the first half of the Bulls’ win over Decatur Friday. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Any questions about his health were answered in the opening minutes Friday as the senior guard went on the attack. Holdman fought his way through the lane for back-to-back layups as part of a 23-8 opening blitz by the Bulls in a 63-52 victory over Decatur Eagles.

“I felt good. I did a good job with rehab and did the best I could to get back,” said Holdman, who finished with 16 points and four rebounds.

With the victory, Bridgeport took a big step toward securing a second straight 8-4A title. With three games left, the Bulls own a two-game lead on a Decatur.

“We’re happy for it,” Holdman said. “But we have bigger and better goals.”

Led by Holdman and Patterson, the Bulls exploded out of the gate Friday, hitting 10 of their first 14 shots and taking a 15-point lead just five minutes into the game.

“It was just the atmosphere on senior night,” Holdman said. “We were feeling it.”

Along with his eight points in the fist quarter, Bridgeport coach Alan Green said Holdman provided a big lift with his presence on the floor.

“Keenan is a leader. He influences people,” Green said. “He had those guys going.”

Patterson led all scorers with 23 points. He had 11 in the first half.

As in their previous matchup, Bridgeport opened the game red hot and Decatur struggled early, managing only four points in the first five minutes.

“We were a little nervous. We’ve got to start off better,” said Decatur sophomore Mason Hix.

The Eagles were 4-for-14 from the field in the first quarter.

“You have to give them a lot of credit,” said Decatur coach Drew Coffman. “They came out firing on all cylinders. We reverted back to like last time and didn’t come out to play. Hopefully we learned that we can’t put ourselves in a hole against quality teams.”

The Bulls went up 20, 35-15, midway through the second quarter on a three-point play by Holdman.

A pair of 3-pointers from Jacob DelAngel helped the Bulls carry a 41-23 lead into halftime.

“These guys love playing on this court,” Green said. “The first half was a great tribute to what’s been supporting them all year.”

Decatur started chipping into Bridgeport’s lead in the third quarter, getting within 11, 45-34, on a Wilson Hicks 3-pointer.

BACK UP TO SPEED – Bridgeport’s Keenan Holdman drives around Decatur’s Dane Fitzgerald during the Bulls’ 63-52 win Friday. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Bridgeport had just one field goal in the third quarter. The Bulls used the free-throw line, going 7-for-10 to get to the final frame with a 50-36 lead.

Bridgeport finished the game 17-for-24 at the charity stripe. Decatur never made it to the line.

After Bridgeport built the lead back to 16, Decatur made one last push. Parker Hicks banked in a 3-pointer to start an 8-0 run that brought the Eagles within eight, 56-48, with 2:30 left. That was as close as the Eagles would get.

“We have so much respect for those guys. They are a good basketball team,” Green said.

Parker Hicks finished with 17 points.

Hix turned in a double double of 14 points and 13 rebounds.

“He played like Mason Hix can play. Hopefully it gives him some confidence for down the road,” Coffman said.

Hix pointed out they still have plenty to play for.

“We have to keep working,” he said. “We have a big game Tuesday with Springtown. We have to prepare and get second place now.”

BRIDGEPORT 63, DECATUR 53

Decatur … 8 … 15 … 13 … 16 … – … 52
Bridgeport … 23 … 18 … 9 … 13 … – … 63

DECATUR (20-8, 4-2) – Wilson Hicks 6, Parker Hicks 17, Cade Lamirand 7, Bryce Elder 4, Dane Fitzgerald 4, Mason Hix 14.

BRIDGEPORT (20-8, 6-0) – Jacob DelAngel 12, Devonte Patterson 23, Ethan Chapman 2, Keenan Holdman 16, Jason Faulkenberry 3, Andrew Horton 7.

FIELD GOALS – Decatur 24-52; Bridgeport 20-41. 3-pointers – Decatur 4-19 (Wilson Hicks 2, Parker Hicks 1, Lamirand 1); Bridgeport 6-15 (DelAngel 3, Patterson 1, Faulkenberry 1, Horton 1). Free throws – Decatur 0-0; Bridgeport 17-24. Rebounds – Decatur 29 (Hix 13, Parker Hicks 6, Lamirand 6); Bridgeport 23 (Patterson 9, Holdman 4, DelAngel 4).

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