Local Sports, Sports, University

University boys knock off No. 5 Bridgeport in dominant outing

MORGANTOWN — From tip-off until the final buzzer, the University boys’ basketball team ran the show Friday night, putting together a dominant 61-37 win over visiting Bridgeport on Baker’s Ridge.

“We finally beat a good team,” UHS coach Joe Schmidle said. “We’ve been right there with some really good teams and have gone down to the wire, but we just haven’t pulled it out.”

Bridgeport (15-4) entered the game with a 15-3 record and ranked No. 5 in Class AAAA, but it was the Hawks (10-10) who looked like the superior team on the evening.

University’s dominance started from the tip as the Hawks opened the game on an 11-1 scoring run. 

“We knew that the first four minutes were going to dictate in each half,” Schmidle said. “That’s true in most games and we were ready to play.”

Bridgeport’s first field goal didn’t come until the 3:30 mark in the first quarter as the Indians turned the ball over four times during that stretch.

“They just took it to us early and our response was not there,” Bridgeport coach Dave Marshall said. “At the end of the day, it’s my job to get these guys ready to play and I failed miserably…Coach Schmidle had his guys ready and they looked great.”

Bridgeport later cut the lead to five on a three-pointer by Landon Sanders, but UHS quickly rebuilt the lead and the Indians never got that close again.

UHS led 16-8 after the first quarter and then opened the second on a 13-2 run to push the lead to 19. The final burst came on consecutive three-pointers by Luke Hudson, Carson Ford and Ethan Jackson.

“They’re so hard to score on,” Schmidle said of Bridgeport. “I said if we can get to 60, we have a chance. We were really good about taking the shots that we wanted, we took great shots.”

Bridgeport had a golden opportunity to mount a comeback in the third quarter as the Hawks were over the five-foul limit less than three minutes into the frame. The Indians, normally a 75% free-throw shooting team, went to the line 16 times in the third quarter but only went 8-16.

Even while the Hawks were bogged down by fouls, they continued to score. Junior forward Zach Demidovich scored 10 of his game-high 21 points in the third quarter.

“I had six things written on the board that we needed to do and we did all of them,” Schmidle said. “The one thing I didn’t have on there was not to foul so much.”

A 12-0 run to begin the fourth quarter put any hopes of a Briodgeport comeback to bed as the Hawks coasted to their most important win of the season thus far.

“We were looking forward to this game for a while,” Schmidle said. “There was a lot riding on this game and the last thing we wanted to do was have to go to Bridgeport (in the section tournament).”

The win presumably puts the Hawks as the No. 1 seed in the upcoming section tournament, giving them home-court advantage throughout.

Demidovich finished with a double-double, adding 14 rebounds to his 21 points. Jackson and Hudson both scored 11 for UHS while Ford had eight.

Bridgeport’s top scorer was Sanders with eight. Phoenix Sickles, Ben Bifano and Anderson McDougal all had seven as the Indians only managed to make nine field goals on the night.

“Anything we tried to do, I don’t even want to say we were a step slow, we were two steps slow,” Marshall said. “Hats off to (University), they’ve got a great team. We knew it, their record doesn’t show it to the outsider, but I’ve scouted them enough to know it.”

Bridgeport has a quick turnaround to play Lewis County today at 4 p.m.

University will close out the regular season with a pair of home games against Preston (Feb. 20) and Musselman (Feb. 22).

University 61, Bridgeport 37
BHS 8 7 13 9 — 37
UHS 16 14 15 16 — 61
BRIDGEPORT (15-4) — Sanders 3 1-1 8; Sickles 2 2-2 7; Ayoob 0 0-0 0; Curry 0 1-2 1; Bifano -1 4-8 7; Michaelis 1 0-2 2; Spatafore 2 1-3 5; A. McDougal 0 7-12 7; Williams 0 0-0 0; Romano 0 0-0 0; J. McDougal 0 0-0 0.
UNIVERSITY (10-10) — Jackson 4 0-0 11; Coleman 2 0-0 4; Hudson 4 1-2 11; Demidovich 7 7-7 21; Fortney-Garbart 1 0-0 2; Ford 3 1-2 8; Henderson 1 0-0 2; Brown 1 0-0 2; Kleeh 0 0-0 0; Lewis 0 0-0 0; Byrer 0 0-0 0; Karpinsky 0 0-0 0.
3-Pt. Goals — Bridgeport 3 (Sanders 1, Sickles 1, Bifano 1). University 6 (Jackson 3, Hudson 2, Ford 1).