Bridgeport does it with 'D'
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Some solid X's and O's on "D" by Bridgeport coach Dave Marshall led to the biggest "W" in Indians' history and resulted in something as simple as ABC - A Bridgeport Championship.
The Indians ensured that St. Joseph in Class A would be the only repeating champion as they completely stifled a normally potent Westside offense en route to a dominant 44-27 win in the Class AA championship game Saturday afternoon at the Charleston Civic Center.
The title is the school's first in girls basketball and came a year after Bridgeport fell in the Class AAA title game to Greenbrier East. It also came a year after Westside won its first championship in school history by defeating Scott and ending a five-year run by Summers County.
"It's a lot different feeling than last year," Bridgeport senior do-it-all guard Miki Glenn said. "It's better to be smiling up here than crying."
Through the first two rounds, the No. 1 Renegades cruised and looked to be on the way to a second-straight crown, but the Indians put the clamps on Westside in historic fashion.
The Indians were left to deal with Westside's 6-foot post player Hope Lester, who averaged 18 points coming into the tournament and ravaged basically every defense the Renegades had played against all year.
Bridgeport entered with 5-foot-8 Hannah Fetty as the Indians' primary post player, but instead of a negative, Marshall said that Bridgeport's relative lack of an inside presence ended up being a blessing in terms of pre-game preparation.
"Hannah's got to front Lester, we're going to get that backside help, and then your backside guard has got to rotate down," Marshall explained. "The reason it was effective is because we do it all the time. You saw this team's defense basically, especially over the last month and a half because we have no true post player.
"Had we just said [Friday] night, 'Hey, we're going to have to defend this way,' we'd have been in trouble."
The smaller Indians were able to use their base defense to perfection, limiting Lester to 13 points and 11 rebounds while guards Morgan Spolarich, Faith Davis and Danielle Brown combined for just five points.
Westside hit just 1 of 7 3-point tries, and that one belonged to Lester.
"Bridgeport played great," Westside coach Jamie Lusk said. "They're here for a reason, too. They have a good ball club and they were very well coached. My girls gave me everything they had. It wasn't like we went out there and didn't play hard, they played as hard as they could go and things just happen sometimes. Sometimes shots don't fall."
The numbers more than illustrated Lusk's point.
Westside shot just 10 for 49 (20.4 percent), turned it over 16 times and managed no more than nine points in any quarter.
The Renegades were held to a season low in points by far, with their previous low coming in their only other loss of the season, a 57-46 defeat at Class AAA University. Its season low against a Class AA team was 52 in a nine-point win over Scott.
Westside came within four points of setting the Class AA tournament record for fewest points.
Glenn didn't quite put up the gaudy offensive numbers she had over the first two games, partly because they weren't needed.
She finished with a game-best 22 points, including 15-of-16 shooting from the free-throw line, and finished with a total of 95 points for the tournament, missing the all-time tournament scoring record by just three.
Her final tally of 51 for 57 from the foul line shattered previous records for foul shots made (34) and attempted (47).
She added team bests in rebounds (10), steals (5) and assists (4) on Saturday.
"What can you say about Miki Glenn that hasn't already said?" Marshall asked. "But I'll say it anyhow - if she ain't the best player in the state of West Virginia, I don't care anymore other than she deserves it. She plays the game the way I think it's supposed to be played.
"Somebody is getting a big reward next year on the recruiting market."
Glenn said her college decision would be made sometime over the next few weeks but gave no hints about where she might be headed.
But on Saturday, it was all about the Bridgeport defense, which set the tone from the outset, holding Westside scoreless until Lester hit a pair of free throws with 3:36 left in the opening quarter.
Fetty's defensive effort earned her a spot on the all-tournament team despite scoring just seven points in three games. Glenn and Hope Chalfant also represented Bridgeport on that list while Lester and Davis earned selections from Westside. Fairmont Senior's Kaden Whaley and Emily Stoller also made the team and Nicholas County's Shealyn Shafer rounded out the squad.
Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948, firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him at twitter.com/RPritt.