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Waddell column: Sissies’ run to regional tournament embodies strength

By Reece Waddell | Published Wednesday, February 20, 2019.
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When the Bridgeport Sissies knocked off rival Decatur Tuesday night to secure a trip to the 4A Region I tournament, emotions overflowed as players and coaches rushed to celebrate on the court.

Bridgeport had just punched its ticket to the regional tournament for the first time in 10 years, but there was much more to the story.

For a team decimated with injuries the past two seasons, Tuesday night’s triumph was more than an ordinary playoff victory or even rivalry win — it was a culmination of nearly 24 months of bad breaks, hard work and perseverance.

“It’s almost like the weight of the world was on their shoulders,” said Bridgeport coach Dallas Taylor. “You can’t be prouder of 16-, 17-, 18-year-old girls saying, ‘We got it.’ They did. They stepped in the gym with the right mentality and got the job done.”

Messenger photo by Joe Duty.

Bridgeport’s misfortune began during the 2016-2017 season, when then-sophomore Cheyanne Weirich tore the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her right knee. She missed the remainder of the season, tirelessly working to get back on the court.

The Sissies fell in the first round of the playoffs to Ranchview, ending their season.

The injuries really started to pile up during Bridgeport’s 2017-2018 campaign.

Reece Waddell

After starting the year 14-2 and being ranked in Class 4A, the Sissies met Stephenville in the Whataburger Tournament Dec. 29, 2017.  Then, one by one, several key players went down.

Delaney Ingram tripped and fell backwards in transition, breaking her right wrist. Later, Weirich, who had already spent nearly a year rehabbing her ACL, came down awkwardly and tore the ligament again. Within a matter of minutes, two of Bridgeport’s starters were sidelined with severe injuries.

Weirich missed the remainder of the season, while Ingram was out nearly two months and most of district play.

The final gut-punch came in the regular season finale against Krum, when starting point guard and leading scorer Emily Vidal tore her ACL. Bridgeport lost that game and a tiebreaker to Krum, before falling in the first round of the playoffs again.

Messenger photo by Joe Duty.

The hits kept coming, but the Sissies kept getting up.

“In sports, there are life lessons,” Taylor said. “With everything our kids have been through, it’s continuing to fight the fight and you will be blessed. I think tonight is a blessing for them and their efforts. They haven’t given up and here’s their reward.”

Vidal, Ingram and Weirich were all healthy by the start of this season, and have stayed healthy throughout the year.

As a result, the Sissies are 26-10 and regional tournament bound for the first time since 2009. It is also the first time in Taylor’s tenure that she has advanced to the regional tournament.

The last two seasons may have been tumultuous and trying, but the Sissies’ run to Lubbock this year embodies strength — something Bridgeport has never been short of.

“Especially with all the injuries we had the past two years, it feels absolutely amazing for us [to go to the regional tournament],” Vidal said. “Cheyanne, I bet she’s the happiest person ever because she hasn’t played the last two years.

“Our seniors — it means so much to them. They wanted it so much this year, they were ready to get this win. They’re like my second family. They’re all my sisters.”

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