FAIRMONT, W.Va. — Jalen Bridges scored all 26 of his points over the first three quarters Saturday, and Fairmont Senior held off a late Oak Hill charge for a 71-59 victory in a Class AA showdown at the Fairmont Senior Field House.
Bridges was efficient throughout, scoring nine points in the opening quarter, six more in the second and 11 in the third, while making 9-of-13 field goals and 5-of-7 free throws.
“Sometimes he passes up shots, but tonight he was very aggressive not just looking for his shot, but the team’s shot,” FSHS coach David Retton said. “He let it go and it’s tremendous to have 26 (points) in three quarters.”
In addition to his game-high point total, Bridges led all players with 10 rebounds. He had back-to-back baskets from close range late in the third quarter, the latter of which upped the Polar Bears’ lead to 53-37, before Fairmont Senior (13-1) settled for a 55-39 lead entering the fourth.
On the strength of two Michael Beasley 3-pointers, Oak Hill (10-3) used a 10-4 run to start the fourth quarter to pull to within 10 points.
But Fairmont Senior’s Dasilas Jones scored nine of his 21 points over the remainder of the contest, including a jump shot that made it 62-49 and a layup that gave his team a 66-54 lead.
“We weathered the storm and I thought we played overall excellent basketball tonight,” Retton said. “It was a great game for us to come out on top. Oak Hill’s an oustanding team.”
The Polar Bears made 9-of-15 field goal attempts in the opening quarter to build a 22-13 lead. Bridges made all four of his shots and had a conventional three-point play that made it 20-13, before Zyon Dobbs beat the buzzer with a fallaway jumper.
Jones made consecutive 3s in the second quarter to push the Polar Bears’ lead out to 31-17 and FSHS took a 37-22 advantage into the break.
While Bridges had 15 first-half points on 5-of-6 shooting, Jones added 10, Dobbs contributed eight and reserve forward Jaelin Johnson had four points and seven boards, helping the Polar Bears out-rebound the Red Devils 22-15.
Darrick McDowell and Andrew Work, meanwhile, did most of the Oak Hill damage with nine and eight first-half points, respectively.
“We only turned the ball over 13 times and we wanted to keep it under 10, but we had eight in the first half, so we were a little loose with the ball in the first half,” Oak Hill coach Benitez Jackson said.
Oak Hill started the third quarter on an 8-3 run, drawing to within 10 points after Work scored on a drive to the basket and McDowell made a shot in the post.
Bridges’ three-point play with 3:36 remaining in the third upped the FSHS lead to 47-34 and the Polar Bears were able to take the 16-point advantage into the fourth.
“Their length and their size bothered us going to the rim some, but on the positive end for the most part I thought we got the shots we were looking for,” Jackson said. “They really pounded us on the glass and got a lot of offensive rebounds. They had all five guys going down to rebound and they’re athletic.”
Dobbs had 12 points, five rebounds and four assists, while Johnson had a big effort off the bench and finished with eight points and eight rebounds.
The Polar Bears won the rebounding battle 36-28 as Jones added seven boards as well.
McDowell’s 21 points and six rebounds led Oak Hill, which also got 17 points from Work.
“Their big kid really hurt us,” Retton said of McDowell.
Work also surpassed the 1,000-point mark for his career in the contest, which marked the Red Devils’ first loss against a Class AA opponent this season.
With the victory, the Polar Bears now have an eight-game win streak.