Bridgeport ISD Student Spotlights for Wednesday, March 18, 2015

BRIDGEPORT ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

Abbie Hostetter

Abbie Hostetter

Grade: 2nd

Parent: Sandi Hostetter

Favorite subject: Art, music and math

Activities: Going to the park, visiting the tiger farm and playing soccer

“Abbie has made tremendous progress socially, emotionally and academically in the past three years since she has been at our school. We are all so very proud of her! We know she will do amazing things in the years to come.” – Principal Martha Bock

BRIDGEPORT INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL

Christian Ortiz

Christian Ortiz

Grade: 3rd

Parents: Eliseo and Jessica Ortiz

Favorite subject: Science

Activities: Playing video games at home and playing baseball outside with his brother

“Christian is very sensitive and caring. He is a real team player and is helpful and kind to his classmates.” – Principal Rita Lemoine

BRIDGEPORT MIDDLE SCHOOL

Shannon Beaty

Shannon Beaty

Grade: 7th

Parents: Misty and Michael Beaty

Favorite subject: Science

Activities: Volleyball and sports

“Shannon played on the school volleyball team and shows true Bull spirit in all that she does. Shannon has an amazing spirit and works hard for each of her achievements. She is kind, courteous and concentrates on doing the best job possible, all the while with a beautiful smile and a kind heart leading the way.” – Principal Travis Whisenant

BRIDGEPORT HIGH SCHOOL

Lauren Stowers

Lauren Stowers

Grade: 12th

Parents: Scott and Donna Stowers

Favorite subject: Biology

Activities: Basketball, cheer, church youth group, showing Limousin cattle

“Lauren is a well-rounded student who excels at school, as well as outside of school. She is passionate about the activities she is involved in and gives 110 percent in all she does. She is well-mannered, polite and willing to help anyone. Her enthusiasm for life is contagious. I expect to see Lauren do great things when she graduates from BHS.” – Principal Jaime Sturdivant

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Basketball: Unbelievable ride to top

Basketball: Unbelievable ride to top

Shortly after I arrived in Wise County in October 2009, I took in my first Bridgeport Bulls basketball game.

At the time, Bridgeport was miles or seemed a galaxy away from a state title. The Bulls finished the 2009-10 season 3-25 and 1-9 in district. Their coach resigned after the season.

Finishing the Job

FINISHING THE JOB – The Bridgeport Bulls bench erupts in celebration after the final seconds tick off the clock in the 4A state title game. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Five years and two coaches later as I watched the Bulls celebrate the state crown, it’s still hard to comprehend. A school that had won just one playoff game since 1967 is now just the third boys hoops team from Wise County to lift a state championship trophy – and the first outside Slidell.

But the team’s play led by their fantastic four additions – Ethan Chapman, Caleb Smith, Devonte Patterson and Keenan Holdman – was truly out of this world.

The Bulls didn’t just beat teams; they destroyed them, while winning 24 straight games to end the year. In that span, the Bulls had only two games decided by less than 10 points – a four-point win over Fairfield and the 68-60 semifinal victory over Dallas Madison.

Under the brightest lights of a state title game, the Bulls turned in the grandest of shows. Bridgeport piled up 83 points and beat Houston Sterling by 30 points.

The Bulls left no doubt, who was the best team in 4A this season. With only two seniors departing – none of their starters – the Bulls will be everyone’s preseason pick next fall to be back on top.

Back-to-back titles is quite a leap to think about for a program five years ago that back-to-back wins seemed an equal challenge. But after watching the Bulls this season, nothing is unbelievable.

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Basketball: Dominating finish – Bulls crush Sterling to capture first state title

Caleb Smith may have been on the big stage in Saturday’s state championship game against Houston Sterling, but the star guard made it look easy.

Smith and fellow Bridgeport junior Devonte Patterson combined for 52 points, propelling the Bulls to the school’s first state championship with an 83-53 victory in the 4A title game at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

Leading the Charge

LEADING THE CHARGE – Devonte Patterson and Caleb Smith combined for 52 points in Bridgeport’s victory over Houston Sterling in the 4A title game. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Whether it was a steal, a bucket, a rebound or a phenomenal pass like the one he threw to Keenan Holdman in the second quarter, Smith was the Bulls’ catalyst.

He scored 23 points, grabbed eight boards and handed out four assists. The strong effort followed his 25-point, nine-rebound performance in the semifinals and garnered him the 4A state tournament MVP honor.

RISING TO OCCASION – Bridgeport’s Devonte Patterson dunks the ball in the state title game. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

“With his character and work ethic, I think everything else came because of that foundation,” said Bridgeport coach Alan Green. “He works hard at it. He’s special and he has good talent, but none of that happens without the mindset he has inside of him.”

After a slow start, the Bulls made adjustments during a media timeout with 3:58 left in the opening quarter. Expecting to see a lot of zone defense, Bridgeport was a little thrown off when the Raiders chose to start the game off in man-to-man.

“That was a surprise at first,” Green said. “It took us those first four minutes of the game to get going, but once we got back into the flow of the game, we were at our best.”

After Smith scored the Bulls’ first six points, it was time for Patterson to finish off Sterling.

Patterson got hot late in the second quarter, pushing the Bulls to a 33-16 halftime lead.

He continued to shine in the third quarter with his ability to hit the outside shot and be a strong presence on the inside during the Bulls’ 27-point frame.

Patterson finished with a team-leading 29 points, 15 rebounds, two steals and two assists.

His moxie was a highlight for spectators at the tournament from his dunks to calling his shot on 3-pointers.

Green said that beyond the highlight-reel player, Patterson is a person who cares a lot for his teammates and has a tremendous work ethic.

“There’s not many people with a bigger heart than Devonte,” he said. “He’s larger than life all of the time. That’s who he is, but he’s a hard worker, too and to see him have that success is great as a coach.”

By the middle of the third quarter, there was no question about who would win the game.

The poor-shooting Sterling put on a desperate full-court press to try and force some Bridgeport turnovers. The Bulls attacked it relentlessly, piling up transition points.

Keenan Holdman was a constant presence for the Bulls as a ball-handler, passer and penetrating guard. Holdman chipped in 12 points with nine boards and four assists.

“We’re really going to enjoy this,” he said. “We played together, and that’s what we had to do. We played for one another.”

Holdman’s ability to lead the fast break and draw Sterling defenders led to open looks for Ethan Chapman. After a rough night shooting the ball in the semifinal game, Chapman came on late in the title game, making three 3s and finishing with 11 points.

“There’s not too many people who shoot the ball like Ethan Chapman,” Green said. “We see it every day in practice, and sometimes as a shooter it takes a little bit to get going. We know what he can do. He’s had some big games shooting the ball, and for him to do that at the end was just icing on the cake for us and for him. It was great to see him do that.”

The Bulls outscored Sterling in every quarter and the 30-point victory was one of the more lopsided games of the weekend.

Bridgeport also outrebounded Sterling 46-34, an impressive task against a team with a considerable height advantage.

“We played a lot of length out there,” Green said. “We played against some big guys. We felt like if we could win the boards, that we had a good chance to win the game. Sterling didn’t shoot that well tonight, but you can’t coach the effort that our kids gave. That’s the bottom line. The effort and mindset was where it needed to be. I felt like we had a really good game plan both games, and we were focused on performing and executing.”

Jacob Del Angel pulled down nine rebounds with five points and two assists.

“To share this moment with my team was absolutely amazing,” Del Angel said. “I love my teammates, and it’s an incredible thing that we did this together.”

The Bulls had many expectations before the season ever began, but Del Angel said they took those things in stride and tried to remain focused on the task at hand.

Now they can look back on the season as a whole and know that they accomplished every single goal they set, including the loftiest – a state title.

BRIDGEPORT 83, HOUSTON STERLING 53

Sterling … 9 … 7 … 21 … 16 … – … 53
Bridgeport … 14 … 19 … 27 … 23 … – … 83

Sterling (31-6)- Corey Burks 18, Avery Ragland 10, Curtlon Wesley 2, Joshua Young 17, Reginald Mitchell 4, Robert McKinney 2.

Bridgeport (35-4)- Devonte Patterson 29, Caleb Smith 23, Keenan Holdman 12, Ethan Chapman 11, Jacob Del Angel 5, Andrew Horton 3.

Field goals: Sterling 21-58; Bridgeport 25-56. 3-pointers; Sterling 3-17 (Burks 2, Young); Bridgeport 10-24 (Patterson 3, Smith 2, Del Angel 1). Rebounding: Sterling 34 (Young 9); Bridgeport 46 (Patterson 15, Holdman 9, Del Angel 9, Smith 8). Assists: Sterling 1 (Burks); Bridgeport 15 (Holdman 4, Smith 4). Turnovers: Sterling 7; Bridgeport 7.

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Basketball: Bullying way to crown

The Bridgeport Bulls had few issues on the way to winning the 4A state crown. The Bulls won 24 straight games after losing to Wichita Falls Rider in an early December game at American Airlines Center. The Bulls then swept through District 8-4A, going 8-0 and beating rival Decatur in a pair of top-15 matchups. Here’s a look at their path through the 4A playoffs from previous issues of the Messenger.

BRIDGEPORT 90, VENUS 33

With 3.6 seconds left in the first quarter, Caleb Smith caught the inbound pass and diced through the Venus defense to drain a 3-pointer from the top of the key at the buzzer.

Winning Smiles

WINNING SMILES – The Bridgeport Bulls celebrate the school’s first boys bi-district title in basketball since 1998. The Bulls beat Venus 90-33 to earn the title Wednesday. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Smith’s trey provided the perfect exclamation mark to the flawless 31-point first quarter for the Bridgeport Bulls on the way to the 90-33 victory in the 4A Region I bi-district tilt at Boswell High School’s Max Newcom Gym Wednesday.

FLYING HIGH – Bridgeport’s Caleb Smith scores in transition against Venus. The Bridgeport guard poured in 29 points as the Bulls beat Venus to win a 4A bi-district title. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

“We felt good coming into this game,” said Bridgeport junior Keenan Holdman, who had eight points with nine rebounds, five steals and five assists. “We’ve been holding back and holding back after the game got canceled. It was good to get back on the court. We felt good about how we were going to play and the game plan.”

The playoff victory was Bridgeport’s first since 1998 and second since 1967.

“One day we’ll sit down and look back at it, but right now we’ll go back, break down the film and get ready for the next one,” said Bridgeport coach Alan Green.

Smith led the 11 Bulls that scored with 29 points. He had 17 in the first quarter and another 10 in the third quarter. After scoring on a layup in the first minute of the fourth, he sat most of the fourth with the rest of the Bridgeport starters.

“Caleb is an outstanding player,” Green said. “He works so hard. He has goals to accomplish. Anytime you see someone like that have success, it’s not by accident.”

Smith had 11 points during a 15-0 run to end the first quarter as the Bulls (28-4) went up 31-8.

Bridgeport’s lead grew to 40, 54-14, at halftime after Ethan Chapman dropped all seven of his points in the second, and Devonte Patterson scored six of his 15.

Bridgeport did not commit a turnover in the first half and had only nine for the game. The Bulls also shot 55 percent, 38-for-63.

“It was a good way to get started,” Green said. “This will be a good film for us to go back and watch. There’s a lot we can tighten up on and be better at. For us to get where we want to go, we’re going to have to do that.

“But I won’t take anything away from these guys. They’ve worked so hard. It’s a fun group to coach and watch.”

As impressive as they were on offense, the Bulls were equally as good on defense, forcing 21 turnovers and limiting Venus (13-17) to 12 field goals.

“We know defense is what’s going to win us games,” Holdman said. “That was our mindset – get stops and the offense will come to us.

“This feels good, and we’re going to enjoy it today. But starting tomorrow, we’ll look to the next game.”

BRIDGEPORT 90, VENUS 33

Venus … 8 … 6 … 9 … 10 … – … 33
Bridgeport … 31 … 23 … 18 … 18 … – … 90

Venus (13-17) – Kylon Allen 2, Easton Brown 2, Devan Pollard 9, Kalon Heim 2, Tyler McCarty 3, Josh Lindly 6, Sammy Luedke 2, Christian Robinson 1, Kelby Storm 6.

Bridgeport (28-4) – Jacob DelAngel 12, Devonte Patterson 15, Ethan Chapman 7, Keenan Holdman, John Freeman 3, Caleb Smith 29, Andrew Horton 1, Chayton Stotts 8, Connor Hurd 2, Justin Meyers 3, Dylan Banner 2.

Rebounding: Venus 21 (Storm 4); Bridgeport 42 (Holdman 9, Stotts 8). 3-pointers: Venus 6-24 (Pollard 3, Lindly 2); Bridgeport 8-22 (Smith 4, DelAngel 2).

BRIDGEPORT 70, IOWA PARK 40

The Bridgeport Bulls were off to a slow start halfway through the opening quarter of their Class 4A Region I area game with the Iowa Park Hawks Monday.

Moving Ahead

MOVING AHEAD – Bridgeport’s Keenan Holdman goes up for a contested layup over an Iowa Park defender. Holdman and the Bulls beat Iowa Park 70-40 in the area game. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Junior guard Ethan Chapman then drained three 3-pointers to get the Bulls rolling in their 70-40 victory.

“He really got us going with his shooting,” said Bridgeport coach Alan Green. “We were really in a poor mental state, and he got us out of that. Devonte Patterson did a great job in the second half with his shooting as well.”

The coach thought his team will need to learn from their sluggish opening.

“We have to be better mentally at first,” Green said. “We have to make sure that we’re focused early-on in games. Every minute on the court from here on out will be more intense.”

After missing his first three tries, Patterson rattled in his next three attempts from beyond the arc, while making seven straight shot attempts.

At the half, the Bulls held a 39-20 lead and increased that to 58-29 after three quarters.

Patterson and Keenan Holdman each scored four points in the fourth to finish the game.

Bridgeport faced a quick turnaround, catching Kennedale Tuesday in the regional quarterfinal game.

“We plan on winning defensively,” he said. “It will all be about keeping them from second-shot attempts. All about defense and rebounding.”

For Chapman and his teammates, it is all about playing together and continuing toward their goal of a state championship.

“We just have to play as a team,” Chapman said. “It will be hard for us to go out on the court as individuals if we want to accomplish our goals this season.”

BRIDGEPORT 70, IOWA PARK 40

Iowa Park … 9 … 11 … 9 … 11 … – … 40
Bridgeport … 16 … 23 … 19 … 12 … – … 70

Iowa Park- Cole Oxford 4, Bailey Hale 14, Bryce Skinner 8, Jakob Garcia 6, Keaton Jackson 8

Bridgeport- Jacob DelAngel 4, Devonte Patterson 20, Ethan Chapman 14, Keenan Holdman 6, Caleb Smith 14, Andrew Horton 8, Chayton Stotts 4

Rebounds: Bridgeport 31; Iowa Park 20.

Field goals: Bridgeport 15-28; Iowa Park 12-34.

3-pointers: Bridgeport 9-21; Iowa Park 3-14.

Free throws: Bridgeport 14-19; Iowa Park 7-11.

Turnovers: Bridgeport 15; Iowa Park 16.

BRIDGEPORT 74, KENNEDALE 62

On paper, the Bridgeport Bulls’ 74-62 win in the Class 4A Region I quarterfinal against Kennedale looks like it wasn’t much of a game.

With the Bulls shooting a higher percentage, finishing with fewer turnovers and outscoring the Wildcats in every quarter, it appears the game was never that close.

But Kennedale actually held the lead in the second quarter and was within four in the fourth. The Bulls then went on their most crucial run of the night.

Spurred by three steals from guard Keenan Holdman in a two-minute stretch, the Bulls extended their lead to 13 with under two minutes left on the way to punching their ticket to Lubbock for the regional tournament.

“We were just going with the flow,” Holdman said. “That’s what we talked about at halftime and that was really our game plan to start with. Defense is how we were going to win this game. ‘Defense leads to dunks’ as we say. That was our motto, and we executed.”

Holdman scored 11 of his 16 points in the final period against a Kennedale team that made the state tournament last season.

“I just like the way we fought,” Holdman said. “We never gave up when we faced adversity. They went on their runs, and we never gave up. We kept doing what we talk and preach and practice. We fought.

“Our bench was cheering, our coaches were coaching, our fans were as loud as can be, so that’s all you can ask for. We’re all on this ride together, and we plan on keeping it going.”

Caleb Smith led Bridgeport with 14 of his game-high 29 points in the final frame.

Smith made 13 of 15 free-throw attempts while also working hard on the glass.

Jacob Del Angel got the Bulls started, scoring six of his 11 points in the opening quarter.

“It’s really just about the opportunity,” Del Angel said. “Anytime I feel like my teammates need me in the particular situation I’ll take the shot.

“We’re one of the best teams out there, and when we play as a team and play together, we’re really at our best.”

Brandon Conwright, who finished with 24 points, kept Kennedale in the game. When the Wildcats’ V.J. Hughes started hitting shots in the second quarter, the Bulls needed a response. Devonte Patterson provided it with 10 of his 18 points as Bridgeport took 35-29 halftime lead.

Bridgeport coach Alan Green offered praise for his team holding off Kennedale and pulling away in the second half.

“Kennedale knows how to win,” Green said. “They went to state last year, and for our kids to go against that makes you so proud of them.

“Our community supported us the whole way. What a great community and what a great group of kids we have.”

BRIDGEPORT 74, KENNEDALE 62

Kennedale … 14 … 15 … 10 … 23 … – … 62
Bridgeport … 18 … 17 … 14 … 25 … – … 74

Kennedale: Darius Hammond 4, Blake Ingram 6, V.J. Hughes 20, Brandon Conwright 24, Dominique Doss 1, Quadraiz Wadley 4, Stephon Jackson 3

Bridgeport: Jacob Del Angel 11, Devonte Patterson 18, Keenan Holdman 16, Caleb Smith 29.

Turnovers: Kennedale 12, Bridgeport 7. Field goals: Kennedale 14-32; Bridgeport 17-33. 3-pointers: Kennedale 9-21; Bridgeport 6-18. Free throws: Kennedale 7-11; Bridgeport 22-30.

BRIDGEPORT 78, LEVELLAND 68

It was an authoritative fast-break dunk by Devonte Patterson in the middle of the fourth quarter that resulted in two points and a free throw for the Bulls that finally sealed the Bridgeport Bulls’ victory over the Levelland Lobos in the 4A Region I semifinal.

Patterson took over the second half, scoring 20 points with five rebounds in the final two frames of the 78-68 victory.

“I don’t know if it was the nail in the coffin, but it was a huge play for us,” said Bridgeport coach Alan Green about the Patterson dunk. “We have really good guard play and even at his size he can put the ball on the floor like that and make something great happen.”

The Bulls held Levelland to 16-for-43 shooting in the opening half.

Meanwhile, after a disappointing shooting night against Kennedale, Ethan Chapman took over in the first half scoring 14 of his 16 points, making three 3-pointers to go with three first-half assists.

“Ethan’s a good shooter, and he showed that tonight,” Green said. “He really came up big in a big situation and that’s who he is.”

Keenan Holdman picked up three steals in the first half and attacked the basket, getting to the line three times and making all six of his free throws.

Still, Levelland’s Nick Gerber and Kenton Williams each had nine points in the first half to keep the Lobos in the game.

“Games against good teams work that way,” Levelland coach Jeff Bontrager said. “I felt like we made some good adjustments in the second half, but we couldn’t get all the way back.”

At the break the Bulls had a 41-34 lead and after a third-quarter shootout in which each team posted 16 points, Bridgeport had to find a way to put the game away.

Patterson provided that.

BRIDGEPORT 78, LEVELLAND 68

Bridgeport … 22 … 19 … 16 … 21 … – … 78
Levelland … 17 … 17 … 16 … 18 … – … 68

Bridgeport: Jacob Del Angel 4, Devonte Patterson 30, Ethan Chapman 16, Keenan Holdman 13, Caleb Smith 12, Jacob Tibbels 3

Levelland: Trenton Jones 12, Kenton Williams 16, Jeff Elliott 4, Nick Gerber 17, Lukas Bontrager 10, Kendall Durrett 5, Caden McKay 4

Turnovers: Bridgeport 8; Levelland 10

BRIDGEPORT 62,WYLIE 48

The Bridgeport Bulls’ 62-48 regional final win over Abilene Wylie came down to hustle, and the Bulls had plenty of it.

Bridgeport clawed and scratched for every loose ball and rebound in the final game of the 4A Region I Tournament.

“This group is special in how much fight they have,” said Bridgeport coach Alan Green. “You won’t find kids with any more fight than Keenan Holdman, Caleb Smith, Devonte Patterson, Jacob Del Angel and so on. It just all came out tonight.”

That hustle led to nine Wylie turnovers in the opening half. Bridgeport took advantage of the opportunities, getting out to a 33-24 halftime lead.

Smith’s 14 first-half points led all scorers. Del Angel’s three steals and three assists showed his defensive prowess and ability to facilitate.

“Wylie’s so good fundamentally. They’ll make you pay for mistakes,” Green said. “We just kept pressure on the ball the whole time, and I think that kept the tempo up and kept us from getting bogged down. Wylie wanted us to play a slower game, but those turnovers allowed us to play fast.”

The Bulls led 45-36 going into the fourth quarter. Smith and Patterson put the game away in the final frame. Patterson scored 14 of his 26 points in the second half, including some big 3-pointers late in the fourth quarter.

“There’s a reason Wylie is in the regional final,” Green said. “We knew it would be a battle. I’m just glad that anytime they were able to go on a run, we responded and made big shots. Devonte hit those big threes, and that was really the difference.”

Patterson was named to the Region I All-Tournament team.

Caleb Smith, who led the Bulls with 27 points, nine rebounds, three assists and three steals, was named tournament MVP.

With several minutes remaining in the game, Bridgeport decided to hold the ball, taking valuable time away from Wylie who eventually had to foul. Smith put the game away at the line. He made 15 of his 17 opportunities.

BRIDGEPORT 62, ABILENE WYLIE 48

Abilene Wylie … 7 … 17 … 12 … 12 … – … 48
Bridgeport … 14 … 19 … 12 … 17 … – … 62

Abilene Wylie: Josh Novil 2, Mason Davis 6, Blayne Deen 8, Chris Henderson 6, Dion Novil 15, Logan Gilliam 4, Matt Lovelace 3, Josiah Light 2

Bridgeport: Devonte Patterson 26, Ethan Chapman 5, Keenan Holdman 4, Caleb Smith 27

Turnovers: Abilene Wylie 17, Bridgeport 10. Field goals: Abilene Wylie 19-52, Bridgeport 20-44. 3-pointers: Abilene Wylie 6-23, Bridgeport 7-20. Rebounds: Wylie 35, Bridgeport 28.

BRIDGEPORT 68, MADISON 60

In their first trip to the state tournament, the Bridgeport Bulls showed no signs of stage fright.

IN FLIGHT – Caleb Smith takes the ball to basket in semifinal win. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

The Bridgeport Bulls scored the game’s first 10 points and never trailed on the way to a 68-60 victory over Dallas Madison in the Class 4A semifinal at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

The Bulls got off to a quick start and led 20-11 after one quarter. The Bridgeport advantage grew to 34-20 at halftime.

Led by Texas A&M signee Admon Gilder, Madison worked its way back into the game, getting within four points.

“We came out slow, and they jumped on us really quick,” Gilder said. “If we didn’t have a slow start, it might have been different.”

Gilder was phenomenal leading his team with 27 points, 12 rebounds and four assists.

But he and Madison couldn’t overcome the onslaught brought on by Devonte Patterson and Caleb Smith.

The two answered every Madison run.

Patterson poured in 27 points, including five 3-pointers. Smith finished with 25 points, nine rebounds and three assists.

“[There was] no doubt they would rise to the occasion,” said Bridgeport coach Alan Green. “They’re big-time players. Gilder is such a great player. We knew he would get going a little bit. We did a really good job of getting to him. It was a lot about not allowing second-chance points.”

Winning the hustle points was critical for the Bulls. After the game, Madison coach Damon Barnett said that his team didn’t block out well, which led to second-chance points for Bridgeport.

“Well, the first thing is closing out on shooters,” Barnett said. “We didn’t close out well, and we let the 6’6″ guy open up our defense. We got spread out defensively, and they attacked.”

When Bridgeport went into their four-corners offense, it was Keenan Holdman, who put in four straight points to help Bridgeport go on another run.

The four-corners offense has been a staple on Bridgeport’s playoff run.

For Green and his players, it has a lot to do with rest and wearing the other team down.

“We talked about it before that we’re not real deep,” he said. “We feel like that’s an advantage to us. I think it keeps them rested. To get out and deny that and play it without trapping is tough on defenses. I think there was one possession where we kind of turned it over, even though I thought there was a foul. It’s been a great offense for us.”

Madison went on a 20-13 run in the third quarter, but the spread out four-corners offense paid off in the fourth with the Bulls getting easy runs at the bucket after eluding Madison’s deep traps.

It was in the middle of the fourth quarter when Patterson drove to the hole for a big dunk and the foul to put an exclamation mark on the win.

BRIDGEPORT 68, MADISON 60

Madison … 11 … 9 … 20 … 20 … 60
Bridgeport … 20 … 14 … 13 … 21 … 68

Madison (25-8) – Ke’Tarrious Bouchum 8, Admon Gilder 27, Desmond Scott 3, Patrick Terry 8, JeMichael Bowens 8, Kevin Luckey 6

Bridgeport (34-4)- Devonte Patterson 27, Ethan Chapman 2, Keenan Holdman 14, Caleb Smith 25

Field goals: Madison 20-49; Bridgeport 22-47. 3-pointers: Madison 9-28 (Gilder 5, Luckey 2); Bridgeport 7-17 (Patterson 5, Smith 2). Rebounding: Madison 30 (Gilder 12); Bridgeport 28 (Smith 9). Assists: Madison 8 (Gilder 4); Bridgeport 9 (Patterson 3).

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Basketball: Easy being Green – Coach stays true to his principles in leading Bulls to title

Behind every great team is a great coaching staff. After the Bridgeport Bulls overtook 4A favorite Dallas Madison and dismantled Houston Sterling in the championship game with an 83-53 victory, there’s little denying that the Bulls are a great team.

Congrats

CONGRATS – Bridgeport Athletic Director Danny Henson gives Alan Green a pat on the back after winning the 4A state title. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Bridgeport coach Alan Green and his staff showed that coaching has a lot to do with making adjustments, trusting your players and hopefully making an impact that reaches far beyond the hardwood.

Before his coaching career, Green was a star high school player for the Bulls.

That put him in a unique position when he took over the program before the 2014 season.

“Being a coach at your alma mater brings a little bit of nostalgia,” he said. “You’re doing your daily work, but every once in a while you’ll see a court or a basket that brings back a memory or two.”

Green never fails to mention the Bridgeport community when speaking after a game, sometimes even bringing up the town and its people without being prompted by a question.

He says that support has been reciprocated time and again by people who have encouraged him even during the down times.

Reaching the Top

REACHING THE TOP – Bridgeport coach Alan Green watches as the final seconds tick off the clock in the Bulls’ 4A state championship victory over Houston Sterling. The title comes in Green’s second year. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

“Being from here, I know a lot of the community and a lot of the supporters, so to share a championship with this community is probably what I’ll take away from this the most,” he said. “People who have known me my entire life and weren’t afraid to reach out, send a text, even when things weren’t going great. That has been really neat.”

As a man, the coach might be categorized as stoic, thoughtful with his words and even-keeled. He has what some may call a dry sense of humor, and it can be hard for those uninitiated to pick up on the subtleties of his personality.

Even his players sometimes wonder what mood their coach is in. But the impact he has on those same players provides a window into who Green really is.

“Coach Green is a character,” senior guard John Freeman said. “He’s always cracking jokes, and he’s always serious at the same time. You can’t tell if he’s mad or happy or just trying to get a laugh. But he’s one of the best people I’ve ever met in my life.”

Fellow senior Dillon Banner said Green is a balanced person in everything that he does, stating that Green’s message to his team throughout the playoffs was to enjoy the ride, while remembering what needed to be done.

When it comes to coaching, Green is an idealist, focusing much of his attention on team chemistry and learning life lessons.

“I love to teach and this is clich , but it’s the truth,” Green said. “If the only thing they’ve learned from me is basketball, then I’ve failed to do my job. Sometimes they may not like what I’m telling them or the discipline, but the goal is that maybe four or five years from now they’ll think back to those life lessons and remember something positive.”

Green also organized events for his team, hoping to bring them together by spending time away from the court with one another.

He found ways to take his players to Dallas Mavericks games together and invited his team to dinners at his house, knowing that they had to be united to accomplish their goals.

“He was really big on togetherness,” Banner said. “He made us form as a team. As much as we love each other, he put so much love into us and we grew as a family.”

Green’s philosophical commitment to the more noble aspects of team sports collided perfectly with a group of players who were already adept in the fundamental and advanced aspects of the game of basketball.

But he didn’t always have a dominant group of players.

Last year in his first season as the Bridgeport coach, the Bulls went 12-17 and lost to Frisco Lone Star in the opening round of the playoffs.

When Keenan Holdman, Devonte Patterson, Caleb Smith and Ethan Chapman moved into the Bridgeport school district and joined the Bulls basketball team, it was up to Green to adjust the technical style of his coaching to accommodate the caliber of player he was now expected to lead.

“I would say Alan’s best attribute is that he cares for the kids and pushes them at the same time through conditioning and discipline,” said Bridgeport assistant Joel Faulkenberry. “This is his second year, and we had two totally different types of kids. We had to adjust a lot of things between the kids we had last year and the kids we had this year. It was a learning experience for both of us.”

Faulkenberry added there were conversations between himself, Green and assistant Clay Johns about how to keep from over-coaching their new additions.

“These kids are great players and you don’t want them to think the game, you just want them to play the game,” he said. “They’re at their best when they can just go and play, and that’s been a real adjustment.”

Bridgeport was able to play more efficient without the constraints of set plays. No better example of this came when the Bulls held a 33-16 lead at halftime of the 4A title game.

After a brief discussion with Green, Faulkenberry essentially suggested they simply let the kids play the game in the third quarter.

“I told him that it was about to be fast-break time,” Faulkenberry said. “They were desperate and had to press us because they needed us to turn the ball over. They really played into our hands by doing that because then it turns into a free-flowing game. You’re not going to pressure our players because they’ll make you pay. That’s what happened.”

The Bulls rattled home 27 points in the third quarter and increased their lead.

Green said that his assistant’s input has been invaluable the last two seasons. Faulkenberry is a former coach at Sunray.

“It’s really good to go and talk to the guy who has been in my seat before,” Green said. “Whether that’s something that’s going on in the game or other things that come with being a head coach, he’s been there for me. It’s a big step going from an assistant to a head coach, as I found out last year. To have the experience that Coach Faulkenberry provides to the staff has helped me greatly.”

Rounding out the Bulls three-man coaching staff is Johns, who is in his fourth year of teaching and coaching.

Before coming to Bridgeport, Johns went to high school at Millsap and graduated from Tarleton State University in 2011. From there he worked at Amarillo’s River Road High School for two years before arriving in Bridgeport.

Still a young coach, Johns is tasked with making Green’s life easier by keeping track of the foul situations during games while also handling logistics, acquiring game film and taking care of the equipment.

Johns’ attitude toward his duties and his professionalism have been vital according to Green.

Green noted that previous coaches Brandt Lockhart and Brian Miller, who he worked for were huge influences in his career.

Teaching togetherness, and trying to have a positive impact on his players as people, have been the staples of Green’s career.

If you’re trying to understand who the elusive coach is, those traits would be a pretty good place to start.

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Basketball: Working behind the scenes – Freeman, Banner end careers as state champs

Much of the talk surrounding the Bridgeport Bulls’ state championship revolves around Devonte Patterson, Caleb Smith, Ethan Chapman and Keenan Holdman – the four transfer students who moved to Bridgeport and ultimately led the Bulls to a 4A title.

But a lesser-known transfer and a homegrown boy made up the senior leadership for the Bulls, playing a major role behind the scenes to get the team where they needed to go.

Ending on Top

ENDING ON TOP – Bridgeport seniors John Freeman and Dillon Banner provided leadership to team full of juniors. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Dillon Banner moved to Bridgeport as a sophomore from Orlando, Fla.

He admits there was some immediate culture shock upon arrival, but the acceptance he felt in the small North Texas community was great.

“The students, the community and the faculty accepted me, and I’m just super happy to be here,” Banner said. “It was definitely a change of scenery. I have great friends here just like I have great friends back there. I couldn’t be more happy about how it all transpired.”

Banner didn’t always play organized basketball, but it was his aunt and uncle, Kevin and Cindy Campbell, who encouraged him to try new things in his new town.

That eventually led him to playing basketball.

Nice Prize

NICE PRIZE – Bridgeport seniors Dillon Banner and John Freeman show off the 4A state championship trophy Saturday. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Banner said that the support of his family and community have been one of the bigger influences in his life.

Unlike Banner, for fellow senior John Freeman Bridgeport is his hometown and playing basketball has been a part of his life since childhood.

For a young man who dreamed of having a large role on the Bulls basketball team, the influx of new players and the disappointment of limited minutes could have pushed Freeman away from the game. Instead, the senior took it upon himself to lead by example with his work ethic.

Bulls coach Alan Green believes the two seniors contributed greatly to the Bulls state championship.

“The bottom line with those guys is they are the epitome of team players,” Green said. “They practice hard every day knowing that playing time would be scarce. As a coach you can’t ask for more than that. It’s not easy going out every day and grinding in practice without the playing time to show for it. But they took it upon themselves to make a positive impact for this team.”

He added that the two never needed to be pushed in practice and were always the first to get off the bench during a timeout or at the end of a quarter to show their support for teammates.

Both Freeman and Banner said that the relationships with the new guys developed quickly.

“I didn’t hold any hard feeling toward the guys,” Banner said. “I knew they were good basketball players, and I knew they would get a lot of minutes. But relationships developed and we became good friends. I know how it feels to be the new guy in town. They came right in and meshed with the community as much the team.”

Freeman echoed those sentiments.

“This group of guys has been so close together,” he said. “There’s no separation between us. There hasn’t been any fighting really. Even through the losses, we stayed together and kept our heads level.”

Being a native son of Bridgeport, Freeman remembers a time when football was king in the land of the Bulls.

After the football team’s success fell off in recent years, he said the town needed something to get behind. When Holdman, Chapman, Patterson and Smith transferred to Bridgeport, it galvanized the town and brought people together.

“When the football teams weren’t very good, we didn’t have much going on with sports,” he said. “Then these four guys move in, and it has been one of the greatest things for our town. It’s a great group of guys and a great opportunity that we’ve had.”

Neither Freeman nor Banner will soon forget the experiences gained in this historic season.

Holding their state championship trophy in the floor-level tunnels of the Alamodome, the two joked about how they would wear their championship rings, and using their championship resume to get them on a college team.

On a more serious note, the two said they wouldn’t trade this experience from their final year of high school for anything.

“It’s just surreal,” Banner said. “I can’t even comprehend it all really. I’ll look back and see that we accomplished something amazing with my best friends. I’ll remember the players just as much as winning this thing.”

And though Freeman still wonders what would have come of the team had they not had the luck of acquiring such talented new teammates, he quickly dismisses that notion and instead, focuses on being a part of something special.

“Even though we didn’t play the minutes that we may have played on a lesser team, knowing we were part of the first state championship in our town’s history is the biggest thing that we’ll remember,” he said.

“You always think about what you could or couldn’t have done without the other guys moving in, but look at the trophy we have in our hands. It’s better to look at what’s real instead of the hypothetical.”

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Softball: Graham shuts downs Sissies – Bridgeport strikes out 13 times in loss

The Bridgeport Sissies had a disappointing night in Graham Monday.

The Sissies struck out 13 times against Graham pitcher Lexi Allen in a 9-1 loss.

“She throws it pretty hard and has really good movement,” said Bridgeport coach Ruben Garza. “She’s a very good pitcher, but that’s nothing we haven’t already seen this year. We’ve hit pitchers like that pretty well. We didn’t tonight, unfortunately.”

With the first game of District 8-4A Friday at Springtown, Bridgeport must turn things around quickly.

“That’s a good team with a good pitcher and a lot of good hitters,” he said. “That’s what we’ll see in the playoffs, so this is where it starts. District starts Friday, and this is our last dress rehearsal.”

While struggling at the plate, the Sissies showed what they were capable of on defense, especially in the bottom of the sixth inning. Three line-drive catches in the frame led to the Sissies’ only perfect half inning of the night.

Garza wasn’t surprised by what his infield did.

“We’ve made a lot of plays like that in this short season that we’ve had,” he said. “I really look forward to starting district. I’m excited, and I know the girls are excited. We’ve got the tools to make a little run, and we’re definitely going to be in the running for a playoff spot.”

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Baseball: Bulls win three

The Bridgeport Bulls finished off the West Texas Classic Saturday with a 3-2 victory over San Angelo Lake View.

Mason Baker held Lake View to two runs on two hits in six innings, striking out six.

Baker helped his cause, going 2-for-3 with a double and RBI. Lane Morrow and Travis Fuentes added RBIs. Morrow went 2-for-3 with a double.

Bridgeport went 3-1 at the tournament, moving to 4-4 on the season.

The Bulls beat Pecos 5-3, scoring three in the third and two in the fourth. Hayden Sutherland tripled and scored a run. Jared Huff, Jett Reynolds and Jacob Roberts recorded RBIs.

Huff earned the win, allowing two earned runs on four hits in five innings.

The Bulls topped Midland Greenwood 6-2 with Corbin Coleman allowing two runs – one earned – on five hits in seven innings.

Bridgeport pushed across two runs in the fourth, fifth and seventh innings.

Baker doubled and knocked in two runs.

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Maroon faithful storm San Antonio

Maroon faithful storm San Antonio

The Bridgeport faithful were thrilled upon entering the Alamodome for the Bulls’ arrival on the state stage Friday afternoon.

When gates opened before the 4A state semifinal with Dallas Madison, Bridgeport fans filled the stands in their maroon ready to cheer the Bulls to victory.

About Time

ABOUT TIME – Bridgeport fans were thrilled as the final seconds ticked down and the Bulls had punched their ticket to the 4A state championship. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

“I feel good. It’s not always about how the teams match up. It’s more about the heart you play with sometimes,” said Bridgeport senior Remi Swenson. “Being a senior and being able to be here is great. Play strong and don’t let them get in your head. Coach Green is my golf coach, so I’m really rooting for him, too.”

While students like Swenson were on spring break, many had to take off work to make the trip to San Antonio for the game. But it was something that couldn’t be missed.

“I think it’s one of the most amazing things to happen for Bridgeport in a long time,” said David McComis, warden of Bridgeport Correctional Center. “I think one of the best things is how they’ve brought the community together socially. It’s fun to watch everybody excited about it.”

Fan Support

FAN SUPPORT – Bridgeport Fans hold up rally towels prior to the Bulls’ semifinal win Friday afternoon. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

The trip to the state tournament was historic for Bridgeport, which was playing in the semifinal for the first time. But the Bulls also played in the first 4A state tournament game in the Alamodome. The state tournament moved to San Antonio this year after years of being played on the University of Texas campus in Austin.

The trip to the Alamo city was welcomed, according to McComis.

“I think it’s a good deal,” McComis said. “It’s a good place to go if you have to go somewhere. A lot of people from Bridgeport are here so it’s a good deal.”

A lot of people may have been an understatement. The Bridgeport section continued to fill as the gates opened up until tip off.

The Bulls provided the fans with plenty to cheer about throughout Friday. Bridgeport scored the game’s first 10 points. The game tightened in the second half, but Bridgeport never relinquished its lead on the way to the 68-60 victory over Madison.

The fan support was noticeable to Green and his players.

Hands Up

HANDS UP – Fans cheer Friday in San Antonio before the Bulls’ played Dallas Madison. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

“We sold 685 tickets,” Green said. “On average it’s 400 per team. It means everything to us to have that support. It’s very special.”

Jacob Del Angel echoed his coach’s comments.

“The community is great and they’ve supported us through this whole season,” the starting guard said.

The Bulls and their fans will now experience another first Saturday – a state title game appearance. Bridgeport will play for the 4A crown at 7 p.m. at the Alamodome.

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Strong Statement: Bulls stampede into finals

Strong Statement: Bulls stampede into finals

In their first trip to the state tournament, the Bridgeport Bulls showed no signs of stage fright.

The Bridgeport Bulls scored the game’s first 10 points and never trailed on the way to a 68-60 victory over Dallas Madison in the Class 4A semifinal at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

Big Win

BIG WIN – Devonte Patterson throws down the dunk that emotionally fueled the Bulls to victory late in their win over Dallas Madison. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

The Bulls will now meet Houston Sterling at 7 p.m. Saturday for the school’s first basketball state crown with hundreds of Bridgeport fans expected for the final.

The Bulls gave their crowd plenty to cheer with its quick start that led to a 20-11 lead after one quarter. The Bridgeport advantage grew to 34-20 at halftime.

Led by Texas A&M signee Admon Gilder, Madison worked its way back into the game, getting within four points.

Semifinal Winners

SEMIFINAL WINNERS – From left, Justin Meyers, Jacob Tibbels, Jacob Del Angel, Dillon Banner, Chayton Stotts, Caleb Smith, Keenan Holdman and Devonte Patterson wait at mid-court to receive their plaque after their state semifinal win over Dallas Madison. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

“We came out slow and they jumped on us really quick,” Gilder said. “If we didn’t have a slow start, it might have been different.”

REBOUND ACTION – Chayton Stotts goes up for a rebound against Madison’s JeMichael Bowens. Stotts played several minutes in the state semifinal game, helping teammates who needed to stay out of foul trouble. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Gilder was phenomenal leading his team with 27 points, 12 rebounds and four assists.

But he and Madison couldn’t overcome the onslaught brought on by Devonte Patterson and Caleb Smith.

The two answered every Madison run.

Patterson poured in 27 points, including five 3-pointers. Smith finished with 25 points, nine rebounds and three assists.

“[There was] no doubt they would rise to the occasion,” said Bridgeport coach Alan Green. “They’re big-time players. Gilder is such a great player. We knew he would get going a little bit. We did a really good job of getting to him. It was a lot about not allowing second-chance points.”

Winning the hustle points was critical for the Bulls. After the game, Madison coach Damon Barnett said that his team didn’t block out well which led to second-chance points for Bridgeport.

“Well the first thing is closing out on shooters,” Barnett said. “We didn’t close out well and we let the 6’6″ guy open up our defense. We got spread out defensively and they attacked.”

When Bridgeport went into their four-corners offense, it was Keenan Holdman, who put in four straight points to help Bridgeport go on another run.

The four-corners offense has been a staple on Bridgeport’s playoff run.

For Green and his players, it has a lot to do with rest and wearing the other team down.

“We talked about it before that we’re not real deep,” he said. “We feel like that’s an advantage to us. I think it keeps them rested. To get out and deny that and play it without trapping is tough on defenses. I think there was one possession where we kind of turned it over, even though I thought there was a foul. It’s been a great offense for us.”

Madison went on a 20-13 run in the third quarter, but the spread out four-corners offense paid off in the fourth with the Bulls getting easy runs at the bucket after eluding Madison’s deep traps.

It was in the middle of the fourth quarter when Patterson drove to the hole for a big dunk and the foul to put an exclamation mark on the win.

BRIDGEPORT 68, MADISON 60

FANCY MOVES – Keenan holdman moves around a Dallas Madison defender Friday. The Bulls’ win sent them to the state final Saturday. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Madison … 11 … 9 … 20 … 20 … 60
Bridgeport … 20 … 14 … 13 … 21 … 68

Madison (25-8) – Ke’Tarrious Bouchum 8, Admon Gilder 27, Desmond Scott 3, Patrick Terry 8, JeMichael Bowens 8, Kevin Luckey 6

Bridgeport (34-4)- Devonte Patterson 27, Ethan Chapman 2, Keenan Holdman 14, Caleb Smith 25

Field goals: Madison 20-49; Bridgeport 22-47. 3-pointers: Madison 9-28 (Gilder 5, Luckey 2); Bridgeport 7-17 (Patterson 5, Smith 2). Rebounding: Madison 30 (Gilder 12); Bridgeport 28 (Smith 9). Assists: Madison 8 (Gilder 4); Bridgeport 9 (Patterson 3).

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Softball: Sissies defeat Alvord

The Bridgeport Sissies’ three-run third inning held up Wednesday in a 3-1 victory over Alvord.

Melissa Monjarez and Hailey Hollingsworth singled during the three-run rally.

Monjarez and Diana Garcia collected RBIs.

In the pitcher’s circle, Hollingsworth held Alvord to one unearned run on three hits. She struck out 11 and walked three. Mikena Mader scored the Lady Bulldogs’ lone run in the sixth after singling. Emily Burdine drove her in.

Mader allowed three runs on three hits and struck out four.

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Ronni Raelinn Ratliff

James and Trisha Ratliff of Bridgeport announce the birth of a daughter, Ronni Raelinn Ratliff, on March 6, 2015, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

She weighed 7 pounds, 13 ounces and was 20 inches long.

Grandparents are Frank and Patty Tolbert of Decatur and Wayne and Kristen Rosston.

Great-grandparents are Curtis and Joyce Rich of Paradise, and Frankie Tolbert of Decatur.

Great-great grandparents are Harriet and Andy Vagher of Leo, and Sue Ratliff of Sherman.

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Maroon Out: Bulls to take San Antonio by storm

The Bridgeport Bulls sold 550 tickets to the state basketball tournament in just two hours Tuesday morning.

TO STATE – Bridgeport head coach Alan Green reacts after the win over Abilene Wylie to advance to state. Messenger Photo by Mack Thweatt

“For some schools, it’s a common day, and for some it’s a rare opportunity,” Bridgeport ISD Superintendent Eddie Bland said. “It’s exciting for the school and community. It’s a unique opportunity.”

The excitement has been evident throughout the playoffs.

It seemed the entire town of Bridgeport crowded the gym doors at Lubbock Christian University’s Rip Griffin Center last weekend, waiting to pile into the regional tournament.

Bulls fans are proud and confident right now, and they love to talk about their team. Before the regional final game Saturday against Abilene Wylie, several fans boasted about the Bulls.

“I’m feeling really confident,” cheerleader Gaitlin Neeper said. “I want to cheer at the state tournament! Who wouldn’t want to cheer there?”

Bridgeport ISD employee Betty Jowell was sitting behind the scorekeeper’s table Saturday, and she loves watching her team play.

“I feel awesome about this team,” she said. “We’re going to state. Everybody knows who we are now that we have this great basketball team.”

Community member Neal Hawks had more to say about the on-the-court play of the Bulls.

“I think if we play our game and do what we’re capable of we’ll be all right,” he said. “I think this group battles. It doesn’t matter if they’re down or up; they’re going to come in and battle. The Kennedale game was a great example of that. Even last night we had a couple of kids that may have had sub-par games, but we battled through it.”

Hawks also noticed that he was one of many in the gym sporting the Bridgeport maroon, white and black. “If you look around at the crowd, we have a great group of people that come to support the boys,” Hawks said. “It’s just been a fun community thing.”

What is even more rewarding for the people of Bridgeport, is that their team is complimented off the court as well.

“I’m proud of Coach [Alan] Green and the kids for not only what they accomplished but the way they carry themselves,” Bland said. “The comments we get from people are how great they act.”

The Bridgeport section at the Alamodome in San Antonio should be easy to spot as fast as tickets are selling.

It’s clear that the city isn’t taking this opportunity for granted.

Bulls sixth man Jacob Tibbels returned the sentiment to the fans.

“It’s great to see their reaction,” he said. “It’s great to have a community that comes out and supports us like this.”

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Basketball: Going to San Antone – Bulls earn first trip to state tourney

Basketball: Going to San Antone – Bulls earn first trip to state tourney

The Bridgeport Bulls’ 62-48 regional final win over Abilene Wylie came down to hustle, and the Bulls had plenty of it.

Bridgeport clawed and scratched for every loose ball and rebound in the final game of the 4A Region I Tournament.

Thrill of Victory

THRILL OF VICTORY – The Bridgeport Bulls celebrate after beating Abilene Wylie Saturday to punch their ticket to the state tournament in San Antonio. Messenger Photo by Mack Thweatt

“This group is special in how much fight they have,” said Bridgeport coach Alan Green. “You won’t find kids with any more fight than Keenan Holdman, Caleb Smith, Devonte Patterson, Jacob Del Angel and so on. It just all came out tonight.”

A CUT ABOVE – Dillon Banner cuts down a piece of the net at the Rip Griffin Center on the campus of Lubbock Christian University after the Bridgeport Bulls defeated Abilene Wylie to win the regional tournament. Messenger Photo by Mack Thweatt

That hustle led to nine Wylie turnovers in the opening half. Bridgeport took advantage of the opportunities, getting out to a 33-24 halftime lead.

Smith’s 14 first-half points led all scorers. Del Angel’s three steals and three assists showed his defensive prowess, and ability to facilitate.

“Wylie’s so good fundamentally. They’ll make you pay for mistakes,” Green said. “We just kept pressure on the ball the whole time and I think that kept the tempo up and kept us from getting bogged down. Wylie wanted us to play a slower game, but those turnovers allowed us to play fast.”

The Bulls led 45-36 going into the fourth quarter. Smith and Patterson put the game away in the final frame. Patterson scored 14 of his 26 points in the second half including some big 3-pointers late in the fourth quarter.

“There’s a reason Wylie is in the regional final,” Green said. “We knew it would be a battle. I’m just glad that anytime they were able to go on a run, we responded and made big shots. Devonte hit those big threes and that was really the difference.”

Patterson was named to the Region I All-Tournament team.

Caleb Smith, who led the Bulls with 27 points, nine rebounds, three assists and three steals, was named tournament MVP.

With several minutes remaining in the game, Bridgeport decided to hold the ball, taking valuable time away from Wylie who eventually had to foul. Smith put the game away at the line. He made 15 of his 17 opportunities.

Smith Shines

SMITH SHINES – Keenan Holdman and the rest of the Bridgeport Bulls grab teammate Caleb Smith after being a named the Region I Tournament MVP Saturday after the Bulls’ win over Abilene Wylie. Messenger Photo by Mack Thweatt

BRIDGEPORT 62, ABILENE WYLIE 48

Abilene Wylie … 7 … 17 … 12 … 12 … – … 48
Bridgeport … 14 … 19 … 12 … 17 … – … 62

Abilene Wylie: Josh Novil 2, Mason Davis 6, Blayne Deen 8, Chris Henderson 6, Dion Novil 15, Logan Gilliam 4, Matt Lovelace 3, Josiah Light 2

Bridgeport: Devonte Patterson 26, Ethan Chapman 5, Keenan Holdman 4, Caleb Smith 27

Turnovers: Abilene Wylie 17, Bridgeport 10. Field goals: Abilene Wylie 19-52, Bridgeport 20-44. 3-pointers: Abilene Wylie 6-23, Bridgeport 7-20. Rebounds: Wylie 35, Bridgeport 28.

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Basketball: Bridgeport levels Lobos in region semis

It was an authoritative fast-break dunk by Devonte Patterson in the middle of the fourth quarter that resulted in two points and a free throw for the Bulls that finally sealed the Bridgeport Bulls’ victory over the Levelland Lobos in Friday’s 4A Region I semifinal.

GETTING INSIDE – Keenan Holdman finds his way underneath a Levelland defender before getting to the bucket in the regional semifinal game. Messenger Photo by Mack Thweatt

Patterson took over the second half, scoring 20 points with five rebounds in the final two frames of the 78-68 victory.

“I don’t know if it was the nail in the coffin, but it was a huge play for us,” said Bridgeport coach Alan Green about the Patterson dunk. “We have really good guard play and even at his size he can put the ball on the floor like that and make something great happen.”

The Bulls held Levelland to 16-for-43 shooting in the opening half.

Meanwhile, after a disappointing shooting night against Kennedale, Ethan Chapman took over in the first half scoring 14 of his 16 points, making three 3-pointers to go with three first-half assists.

“Ethan’s a good shooter and he showed that tonight,” Green said. “He really came up big in a big situation and that’s who he is.”

Keenan Holdman picked up three steals in the first half and attacked the basket, getting to the line three times and making all six of his free throws.

Still, Levelland’s Nick Gerber and Kenton Williams each had nine points in the first half to keep the Lobos in the game.

“Games against good teams work that way,” Levelland coach Jeff Bontrager said. “I felt like we made some good adjustments in the second half but we couldn’t get all the way back.”

At the break the Bulls had a 41-34 lead and after a third-quarter shootout in which each team posted 16 points, Bridgeport had to find a way to put the game away.

Patterson provided that.

BRIDGEPORT 78, LEVELLAND 68

Bridgeport … 22 … 19 … 16 … 21 … – … 78
Levelland … 17 … 17 … 16 … 18 … – … 68

Bridgeport: Jacob Del Angel 4, Devonte Patterson 30, Ethan Chapman 16, Keenan Holdman 13, Caleb Smith 12, Jacob Tibbels 3

Levelland: Trenton Jones 12, Kenton Williams 16, Jeff Elliott 4, Nick Gerber 17, Lukas Bontrager 10, Kendall Durrett 5, Caden McKay 4

Turnovers: Bridgeport 8; Levelland 10

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Baseball: Bulls finish 1-3 at Bowie tourney

The Bridgeport Bulls finished 1-3 over the weekend at the Bowie Tournament.

The Bulls picked up their lone victory over Mineral Wells 4-2 behind four and 1/3 solid innings from Jared Huff. He allowed two runs and struck out five.

Corbin Coleman and Lane Morrow knocked in two runs each.

The Bulls suffered one-run losses to Peaster (1-0), Bowie (6-5) and Covenant Christian (6-5).

Coleman held Peaster scoreless on two hits in five innings. Peaster forced across an unearned run in the sixth to win the game.

Against Bowie, the Bulls fell behind 4-0 in the first and fought back to take a 5-4 lead in the fourth. Bowie pushed across runs in the fifth and sixth for the win.

Lane Morrow and Travis Fuentes had two hits apiece.

Covenant Christian opened the game with a four-run first against Bulls and led 6-1 after two. Bridgeport pulled within a run with three in the third and another in the fourth. Mason Baker went 2-for-3 and drove in a run.

“We had our opportunities to score some runs in bunches, but we just couldn’t get the job done at the plate,” said Bridgeport coach Ted Leps. “We were happy to get some games in this past weekend finally. It was an opportunity to get some much-needed experience.”

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Second teen pleas guilty in robbery

A second person pleaded guilty this week to a Christmas Eve robbery of a Bridgeport convenience store.

Uriel Betancourt, 17, of Bridgeport pleaded guilty Monday to aggravated robbery, a first degree felony, in 271st District Court in Decatur in exchange for 10 years of deferred adjudication. He was sentenced to 10 years of community supervision and given a $2,500 fine. He will also have to serve 240 hours of community service.

Betancourt also pleaded guilty Monday to the misdemeanor charge of evading arrest in exchange for the 68 days he served in county jail since his arrest in December. Investigators believe he drove the getaway car following the robbery.

Julio Betancourt, 18, of Bridgeport pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery last week and received the same sentence.

A third person arrested in the robbery, Pedro Ibarra, 18, of Bridgeport is awaiting prosecution for the robbery charge as well as two drug charges.

Investigators say Julio Betancourt and Ibarra, 18, of Bridgeport entered the West Side Grocery in Bridgeport the night of Dec. 24 last year brandishing guns and demanding that the clerk hand over the money. They also stole a case of beer.

District Attorney Greg Lowery said the pair used a BB gun during the robbery. Both cooperated with police during the investigation, Lowery said.

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Delinquent fines approach $300,000

Two Bridgeport government entities are owed a combined $270,000 in fines and fees – and they want that money.

Representatives from the Bridgeport Municipal Court and Bridgeport Public Library gave presentations at the Bridgeport City Council meeting Thursday night detailing their delinquent fines.

If you do the crime, you might not have to do the time, but you do have to pay court fees. The council discovered that, unfortunately, a lot of those fees go unpaid in Bridgeport. A recent report stated the court is owed almost $130,000 in delinquent fees.

In an effort to track down the funds, the council hired Perdue, Brandon, Fielder, Collins and Mott, LLP, a law firm specializing in government collections.

Perdue will pursue municipal court cases as far back as 2003 and pocket a collection fee of 30 percent when applicable, according to the contract.

The council will later discuss how to claim the library’s fines, which total $57,323.53.

Library representatives said their oldest late items date back to 1995, and once they accounted for deleted inventory items, there were still 664 items missing.

PUBLIC OPINION

The Perdue contract was the only action item on Thursday night’s agenda with the rest of the meeting spent in public hearings.

The first hearing dealt with the new electronic marquee signs that Bridgeport ISD wants to install at all of its campuses. The signs would display an electronic ticker, emitting light 24 hours, which some residents said might be a nuisance.

“I’m concerned about light from the signs coming into my bedroom at night, and I’m wondering if those signs would affect my property value,” resident Clint Goodman said.

Goodman lives across the street from a future sign location on Cuba Road and said the sign would face one of his windows.

Mayor Corey Lane recommended that the council further investigate how residents would be affected by the signs.

In another public hearing, the council authorized a resident to move a mobile home onto a plot of land usually reserved for a single-family house. Although they approved it, it’s still unclear if the resident will be able to go through with it.

“Whether or not [the resident] can actually build a mobile home that’s up to code is a matter for another time,” Mayor Lane said. “What we’re talking about right now is if we can amend the zoning regulations to allow a mobile home on that section of land.”

The council’s next meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 17, at 900 Thompson St. It is open to the public.

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Basketball: Soaring to new heights – Chemistry experiment works for Bulls

Team chemistry is brought up all the time in sports.

Any time you hear about a player going to a new team, the talk is almost always about fit and chemistry.

TAKING FLIGHT – Bridgeport’s Devonte Patterson flies to the basket past Kennedale defenders during the Bulls’ victory in the 4A Region I quarterfinal Tuesday. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

For the Bridgeport Bulls, chemistry may have been one of the only questions that needed to be asked about the team.

After narrowly making the playoffs a season ago and exiting in the first round, Bridgeport graduated much of their team with only two varsity players returning.

The fate of the team changed, however, when four homeschooled kids formerly of the Dallas/Flower Mound area moved to Bridgeport to join the public school system and the extracurricular programs.

These four players – Ethan Champman, Caleb Smith, Davonte Patterson and Keenan Holdman – also happen to be teammates on an AAU-style basketball team that played year round and had world-class coaching.

The talent was clear, and combined with Jacob Del Angel and Jacob Tibbels – Bridgeport’s two returners – the Bulls had a solid foundation to build on if they could just work together.

“When you bring up a freshman, a couple of sophomores, Chayton Stotts who came in from Kirbyville, four guys from Dallas moving in as new guys and our two returners, it speaks volumes about these kids that they play for each other the way they do,” said Bridgeport coach Alan Green. “They care about each other and that has been a really big part of our success.”

A perfect 8-0 run through District 8-4A set Bridgeport up for a nice playoff run. But because of the nature of their formation, the team has faced some scrutiny.

“When you have four kids move in, you’re not always the favorite,” Green said. “I’m real happy with the way they’ve dealt with that adversity.”

PERFECT ADDITION – Caleb Smith, who joined the Bulls at the start of the season, has helped the team reach the 4A Region I tournament with his play. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Regardless of how this team came together, Green says that winning is a lot more than just luck for his group.

“These guys that have come in, and the guys who were on the team last season have worked extremely hard to get to this point,” he said. “It’s not something that has just happened for them. There’s a lot of hours they have put in to be great.”

The Bridgeport community has supported the Bulls throughout the peaks and valleys of the season.

Looking into the home stands Tuesday night at Chisholm Trail High School after the Bulls had just overtaken Kennedale, players and fans of all ages were celebrating together, embracing and smiling in the glory of victory.

“The community support has been great,” Green said. “That’s something the team has talked about in our personal meetings. There’s no doubt that the kids love it and feed off of that. It’s just a great thing. Even last year we made the playoffs for the first time in a long time and the support was great.”

Green also says that if his program wants a chance to enjoy the same prosperity, the younger groups of players will need to mimick the work ethic their predecessors.

For Jacob Del Angel, who has been in Bridgeport his whole career, the process of getting to know each other on and off the court is complete.

“I love our chemistry,” he said. “There’s bickering every now and then, but we’re like brothers when we come together.”

If the Bulls can stay together, a state tournament bid could be in the near future.

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Basketball: Bridgeport heads west for regional

Heading to Lubbock Friday, the Bridgeport Bulls join Abilene Wylie (24-7), Levelland (22-11) and Lubbock Estacado (26-7) as the final teams remaining from Region I.

Of the four left standing, the Bulls appear the favorite with their No. 5 ranking in the last 4A Texas Association of Basketball Coaches poll. Estacado was No. 6 and the pick to possibly meet Bridgeport in the Region I Final Saturday.

Bridgeport (31-4) will first have to take on the unranked 22-11 Levelland Loboes, who beat Borger, Seminole and Lamesa on their playoff run.

Bulls coach Alan Green says that his team will have a good grasp of the Loboes by tip-off.

“We’ll talk to our guys about what makes Levelland the team they are,” Green said. “We’ll watch film and dissect them. A lot of our talk is going to be about us. How we want to defend and how we want to execute.”

The Bulls use as much film work as possible to help them on a team and individual level.

“Just focus on film and go over the key players,” starting guard Jacob Del Angel explained. “Anytime I have free time I try to get on and see where shots are taken in the game and what players like to do. Are they jump shooters or are they slashers? Things like that can really help defensively.”

Defense is key for the Bulls, with a priority on perimeter defense which Green says is the team’s strength.

The coach also says that his team learned a lot about themselves in their win over Kennedale.

“Kennedale showed us a team that went to the boards hard against us,” he said. “We haven’t seen that in a long time. That was good for us to see and correct for the upcoming game. We have to block out.”

Green also said that Kennedale, with a couple of top jump shooters, showed the Bulls that sometimes you can do everything right defensively and the other team will still score.

With stiffer competition building with every playoff win, the coach said that is a lesson that his team should remember.

“Sometimes against good teams you can play them perfectly and they still make their shots,” Green said. “You just have to keep playing them as hard as you can regardless.”

Because of their defensive prowess, much of the Bridgeport offense is dictated by getting steals and running the fast break.

Being able to wear teams down and strike hard in the fourth quarter is especially surprising from a Bulls team that makes few substitutions.

The Bulls typically only use six to eight players in a tightly contested game, but their ability to remain fast and quick defensively is a testament to their overall stamina.

“I feel like our guys log a lot of minutes and have to play a lot, but that just shows what kind of guys they are,” Green said. “I think Kennedale got a little tired there and the fact that we were still going allows us to get those turnovers.”

The coach said the three-steal, two-minute period that put the Bulls up 13 against Kennedale late in the fourth quarter was their best run this season.

Even more impressive is the fact that the run came in the final minutes of a two-games-in-two-days playoff situation where the Bulls had played a lot of high-intensity basketball in a 48-hour span.

After Bridgeport’s game with Levelland Friday night, Estacado and Abilene Wylie will play for the other regional semifinal championship.

Both Estacado and Wylie were undefeated district champions, while Levelland finished 6-4 in the same district that Estacado won.

Green says that he is excited about the prospect of playing top-tier teams.

“It’s uncharted for me but you certainly look forward to it,” he said. “A lot of coaches go a long time without getting to coach guys of this caliber this deep in the playoffs.”

Though it is new territory for the Bulls, being expected to win and get into the state tournament puts Bridgeport in a unique situation for a program that this year won its second playoff game since 1967.

Regardless of what they should do, the Bulls will need to continue playing with the intensity they showed in the fourth quarter against Kennedale, if they hope to advance.

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