SPORTS HEADLINES

Lady Eagles upset state-ranked Bridgeport

By Reece Waddell | Published Tuesday, January 15, 2019.
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With 1:56 remaining Tuesday night, Bridgeport’s Ashley Ingram followed her own shot and made a putback in traffic, tying the game for the first time since the opening minutes.

The Sissies had trailed by as much as 11 but used two separate runs down the stretch to pull even. Decatur made sure it didn’t stay that way.

Messenger photo by Joe Duty.

The Lady Eagles took the lead back on the ensuing possession and after a Bridgeport turnover, used a pair of Kylee Fitzgerald free throws to seal the 43-37 victory over their cross-county rival.

“They beat us twice last year,” said Decatur coach Lindsay Griffin. “It had been a year since we beat them, and in a rivalry like this, that’s a long time. With it being a rivalry game, it being Bridgeport, them being state ranked and so talented, I really hope the girls run with this, because I think they can.”

Decatur freshman Grace Lowery took over the game on two separate occasions and had 11 points by halftime. Lowery jumped a Bridgeport pass in the second quarter and finished at the other end, sparking a 12-3 run.

She finished with a game-high 18 points.

Messenger photo by Joe Duty.

“She’s a special player,” Griffin said. “It’s exciting that we’re going to have her for a while. She just has that ‘thing’. She’s been really big for our team this year.”

The Lady Eagles led 24-17 at halftime and extended their advantage early in the third quarter. Lowery split two Bridgeport defenders on a drive and finished off the glass, pushing Decatur’s lead back to eight.

“We had some trouble playing defense on her,” said Bridgeport coach Dallas Taylor. “Lowery did a good job of taking it to the hole.”

The Sissies made a 7-0 run to close the third quarter, ignited by a Morgen Davidson and-one. Bridgeport only trailed 32-28 entering the final frame.

Junior guard Emily Vidal pulled Bridgeport to within two, 37-35, with 2:17 left, banking in a shot on a floater in the lane.

Taylor said the Sissies made several adjustments to their offense at the intermission that helped them get back in the game but failed to capitalize on several looks around the rim.

“We came out more aggressive in the third quarter than the start of the game,” Taylor said. “I think we missed several opportunities to put the ball in the basket and take a lead. We just didn’t finish it out.

“We let one slip away.”

Bridgeport (20-9) fell to 2-2 in District 8-4A. Ingram led the Sissies in scoring with 10 points.

Decatur (22-5) improved to 2-1 in league play. Katie Hale added 11 points and Fitzgerald eight, including two clutch 3-pointers.

The Sissies are off Friday and will travel to Argyle next Tuesday. The Lady Eagles hit the road to take on Argyle Friday.

Decatur and Bridgeport will meet again Feb. 1 at Bridgeport.

“For our confidence, this was huge,” Griffin. “I’ve been preaching to them all year they can beat anybody if they’ll just decide to do it. They had decided before the game started we were going to show Bridgeport what we’re about. I’m just so proud of them.”

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