BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. — On a night when leading scorer Emily Riggs wasn’t at her best, several of her teammates stepped up to help Bridgeport notch a 48-40 victory against Buckhannon-Upshur in the regular season finale for both teams.
The Indians got a 15-point effort from Rory Marple as the 6-foot senior made 6-of-7 field-goal attempts, including a pair of 3-pointers Wednesday night.
“Rory Marple had another really good basketball game for us and that’s the second game in a row where she’s really asserted herself,” Bridgeport coach Dennis Hutson said. “Hopefully she’ll continue to do that.”
Lauren Riffle added 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting off the bench, while Paige Humble poured in eight points and grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds in the win.
Riggs still scored 11 points in the victory, including a 3 for the final points of the first quarter that broke a 6-all tie.
Marple’s trey and a layup from Riffle pushed the lead out to 14-6, before Buckhannon-Upshur (13-9) got six straight ponts from Leigh Ann Bennett to cut the deficit to two.
B-U eventually pulled to within 18-17 on a Brooklyn Maxwell jumper, but Marple beat the first half buzzer with a 3 to send the Indians (15-7) into the locker room with a 21-17 lead.
“Early, I thought our focus wasn’t very good,” Hutson said. “We’re mishandling passes, we’re not catching the basketball, we’re making silly turnovers and mistakes that shouldn’t happen. But Buckhannon brings pretty good pressure. They’re pretty intense in that area and they do a good job.”
Shelby McDaniels and Bennett each made 3s during an 8-0 run by B-U to start the second half, allowing the Buccaneers to hold a 25-21 lead at the 5:30 mark of the third quarter.
But the Indians took control of the contest with a 14-3 run to end the third quarter, during which Riggs made two 3s and Riffle scored six points.
Leading 35-28 entering the fourth quarter, Bridgeport maintained at least a six-point lead over the final 8 minutes. A bucket by Riggs with 2:29 to go upped the lead to 43-33, before Maxwell’s 3 with 2:08 remaining.
But Marple answered with a conventional three-point play to stretch the lead to 10 with 1:56 remaining, sealing the Indians’ seventh straight win as they now turn their attention toward the postseason.
“We were about a step slow on our defensive rotations toward the end of the third quarter and into the fourth,” Bucs coach Rob Kittle said. “They took advantage of it with a couple and 1s. We executed halfway decent, we just couldn’t put the ball in the hoop tonight. We missed way too many layups and too many open jumpers that we normally have knocked down this year. That was a big difference in the game.”
Bridgeport shot nearly 50 percent (20-of-41) from the field, but finished with 16 turnovers.
The Indians helped offset the giveaways by winning the rebounding battle, 34-23, thanks in large part to Humble’s efforts.
“She had a tremendous game defensively for us and also she did a good job rebounding,” Hutson said. “She’s our leading rebounder for the season and our most consistent rebounder and she did a phenomenal job defensively and set the tone for us in our 1-3-1 trap. She really trapped hard and she always plays hard so I was pleased with her effort.”
Madi Wilson added seven boards in the victory, while Riggs had five rebounds and five assists.
Bennett’s 14 points led the Bucs, while Maxwell had a stellar all-around performance in defeat, finishing with nine points, nine rebounds and five assists.
B-U finished with nine turnovers, but made only 15-of-49 shots for 30 percent shooting.
The teams split their regular season series as the Bucs beat the Indians 54-50 back on Dec. 14.