Posted on 18 March 2015.
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 – 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 – 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).