Decatur’s defense shuts down Bridgeport in win

By Reece Waddell | Published Tuesday, January 15, 2019.
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Through one quarter Tuesday night, Decatur — the No. 5 team in Class 4A — looked sluggish.

The Eagles trailed by one, 10-9, entering the second frame, struggling to find a rhythm on offense. With a packed gym on hand for the Battle of Big Sandy rivalry with Bridgeport, Decatur coach Drew Coffman gave his team a simple message.

Messenger photo by Joe Duty.

“I thought we had to calm down a little bit,” Coffman said. “It was the first time the band had been here and we had a good crowd here tonight. They did some good things coaching-staff wise to take away some things we’re maybe not-so-good at. But the biggest deal was us fixing us.”

The Eagles found a quick solution.

Decatur switched to a full-court trap in the second quarter, and for the remaining three quarters, only surrendered 11 points, cruising to a 64-21 victory. The Eagles forced nearly 30 turnovers, outscoring the Bulls 55-11 over the final 24 minutes.

“I don’t know if they’re real deep,” said Decatur senior Wilson Hicks. “I think they kind of got tired there in the second half and we were able to take advantage of it with the full-court press and turn the ball over.”

Decatur only led 20-14 at halftime. Bridgeport’s Drew Carstens pulled the Bulls to within four, 20-16, with 4:53 left in the third quarter.

But the Eagles mounted a 12-0 run, forcing 10 Bridgeport turnovers in the frame. Decatur ended the third quarter on a 20-4 push.

“We just settled down and started playing the game we know how to play,” Hicks said. “The first half we just got into a big game and got some nerves out.”

Messenger photo by Joe Duty.

Hicks, Izek Chavana and Gage Rieger each scored 11 points to lead Decatur. Ethan Southard added eight.

Carstens led the Bulls with eight points.

The Eagles have won five straight against Bridgeport in the rivalry. The Bulls’ last win came Feb. 5, 2016. The two schools will meet again Feb. 1 in Bridgeport.

Decatur (24-3) improved to 1-0 in District 8-4A. Bridgeport (12-14) fell to 0-2 in league play. The Eagles will travel to No. 8 Argyle Friday.

“It feels great,” Hicks said. “This is a big week for us. We wanted to come out and get a win today. Friday will be another big game.”

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