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Basketball: Sissies sweep Lady Eagles – Decatur eliminated from playoff contention with loss

By Reece Waddell | Published Wednesday, February 7, 2018
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Down and Out

DOWN AND OUT – Decatur’s Kylee Fitzgerald and Bridgeport’s Jolene Torres battle for a loose ball. The Lady Eagles were eliminated from playoff contention with the loss. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

The Decatur Lady Eagles needed a win Friday to stay alive in the District 9-4A playoff race.

Down by 11 early in the third quarter, Decatur mounted a 9-0 run to cut the Bridgeport lead to two. But just when the Lady Eagles started to swing momentum, the Sissies came roaring back.

With their season hanging in the balance, Decatur ultimately had no answer for Ashley Ingram, who owned the paint all night. Scoring a team-high 14 points, Ingram fueled a 44-36 Bridgeport victory that doused any hope for a Decatur playoff berth.

“[Ashley] is always huge for us,” said Bridgeport coach Dallas Taylor. “She has a great night every night. You have expectations for a freshman, and she exceeds them every time. Tonight was no different. She just did what we needed to get a win.”

Bridgeport improved to 6-3 in district with the victory. The Sissies played Krum Tuesday in the regular season finale. With a win and a Sanger loss to Argyle, Bridgeport would tie the Lady Indians for second in District 9-4A.

The only 6-footer on the court, Ingram took advantage of several mismatches inside to get easy looks at the rim. Ingram did most of her damage on the boards, getting several key rebounds that led to second and third chances for Bridgeport.

In the third quarter with their lead dwindling again, the Sissies nearly let Decatur go on another run to pull to within one possession. After a turnover, it looked as though the Lady Eagles would get an easy layup in transition until Ingram sprinted down the court and rejected the shot.

The play sent the Bridgeport crowd into a frenzy and let the Sissies seize momentum from Decatur for the final time.

“It was a really big [win],” Ingram said. “Now we have a chance to tie with Sanger for second place. I’m really sore, but I’m glad my teammates also [helped] me crash the boards.”

The win not only sets up a chance for Bridgeport to tie Sanger for second in district, but also eliminates Decatur from postseason contention. The Lady Eagles fell to 1-8 in district play with the loss and hosted Gainesville in their season finale Tuesday.

Decatur hung around for most of the game but was never able to get over the hump. Avery Luig finished with a game-high 17 points and scored the Lady Eagles’ first nine points of the game.

Kylee Fitzgerald finished with nine and overcame several injuries to stay in the game.

In the third quarter, Fitzgerald’s left knee appeared to buckle. She walked off the court and eventually returned but was tended to on the bench for several minutes. While she was out, Bridgeport built its lead back to double digits that helped them pull away.

“She’s a tough kid,” said Taylor of Fitzgerald. “She’s their motor. For Kylee to be in pain and for Kylee to be hurting that hurts them and that hurts me for Kylee. Hopefully the kid can get strong, get well and do what she needs to do for them to be successful.”

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