Local Sports, Sports, University

Hawks can’t get going on offense, drop section championship to Bridgeport

MORGANTOWN — The last time the University boys’ basketball team took on Bridgeport prior to Friday night’s Class AAAA Region I, Section 2 championship, the Hawks played one of their best games of the season, while the Indians limped down the stretch just two weeks ago on Feb. 16.

UHS walked out with a 24-point win – now a forfeited loss for the Hawks — then, but two weeks can make a big difference.

While both teams struggled offensively Friday, it was BHS that found a little more pep in their step while the Hawks just couldn’t gain enough momentum to get over the hump as the Indians claimed the sectional title with a 45-36 win at UHS.

“If you would have told me that we’d hold them to 45 points, then we were going to win,” UHS head coach Joe Schmidle said. “We just couldn’t get anything going. We couldn’t finish, couldn’t hit any mid-range. We did have some good open looks but we couldn’t knock them down.

“You’re not going to win many games scoring 36 points.”

The Hawks were 11-38 from the floor and only made five shots in the second half.

Going into the fourth quarter, they trailed by just three points at 31-28, but couldn’t get it going offensively. UHS (14-11) made three shots in the final frame, two of which came with less than 45 seconds to go down double digits.

While the looks were there, Schmidle credits the Indians’ defense and effort.

“Don’t get me wrong, Bridgeport had a lot to do with that. I thought they played really well with very good defense,” he said.

“They played with a lot more energy tonight, which I knew they would, than the last time we saw them. I don’t think we matched their physicality. It was a very physical game and I thought they were all over us and we just didn’t handle it well.”

The Hawks had just one finish with double-figures – James Fortney-Garbart with 10.

Bridgeport (20-4) coach Dave Marshall sat on the other side of the aisle, praising his squad’s bounce-back from the last time these teams met.

“Two weeks ago — and we don’t make excuses — but we literally had two healthy guys on the roster,” he said. “We didn’t complain or moan and groan about it. They showed up, but we had zero energy that night. We didn’t fight through it very well. [UHS] shot it very well and they just kicked our butts.

“That probably helped us put a chip on our shoulder and we showed that tonight, especially defensively.”

Landon Sanders sparked the Indians in the first half, scoring 13 of his game-high 16 in the first two quarters, including three 3-pointers. Phoenix Sickles finished with 12 points.

BHS will now host Wheeling Park in the Region I co-final, while the Hawks will travel across town to take on Morgantown in the other co-final. The Mohigans won both regular-season meetings by an average of 35.5 points.


Bridgeport 45, University 36
BHS 13 7 11 14 – 45
UHS 9 9 10 8 – 36
Bridgeport (20-4) — Sanders 6 0-0 16; Sickles 5 2-2 12; Z. Ayoob 0 3-4 3; Currey 1 6-8 8; Bifano 1 1-2 3; Spatafore 1 0-0 2; McDougal 0 1-2 1; Michaelis 0 0-0 0. Totals: 14 13-18 45.|
University (14-11) — Brown 0 1-2 1; Fortney-Garbart 3 4-4 10; Ford 1 0-0 3; Hudson 2 1-2 6; Coleman 2 0-0 5; Jackson 2 4-7 8; Lewis 1 1-2 3; Henderson 0 0-0 0. Totals: 11 11-17 36.
3-pt goals: BHS 4 (Sanders 4). UHS 3 (Ford, Hudson, Coleman).