Spatafore shines, Bridgeport beats North Marion 66-55 for sixth straight win

RACHEL, W.Va. — Bridgeport raced out to a 15-3 lead Thursday against North Marion by making each of its first six field-goal attempts.

The Indians’ offensive execution hardly worsened over the course of the contest, and though the Huskies were squarely back in the game by halftime, Bridgeport pulled away in the fourth quarter to notch its sixth straight victory, 66-55.

BHS (8-3) shot nearly 65 percent (24 of 37) to overcome a strong shooting effort from the Huskies, who made 19-of-34 shots to shoot better than 55 percent.

“We moved the ball and did a tad bit better job screening, which has been a tremendous emphasis,” BHS head coach Dave Marshall said. “Overall, we played with a better pace than what we have most of the season, especially the other night against Grafton. I have so many young guys and they struggle with learning to slow down and let it flow a little bit. Tonight was a step in the right direction against a well-coached and aggressive team.” 

Half of the Indians’ first six field goals were 3-pointers, and consecutive layups from Anthony Spatafore left Bridgeport (8-3) with the 12-point lead just 4:50 into the contest.

The Tribe settled for a 17-6 advantage through one quarter, during which the Huskies attempted only five shots and turned it over six times. 

BHS built its lead as large as 22-8 following five straight points from Spatafore early in the second period, before the Huskies developed an offensive rhythm.

Consecutive triples from Landon Frey brought North Marion (4-5) to within eight, and the Huskies pulled to within 24-19 on Casey Minor’s conventional three-point play 3:06 before halftime.

“They made shots early and we didn’t,” Huskies’ head coach Steven Herbert said. “We decided to turn it up defensively and on the offensive end, we did what we’re supposed to do and fed the ball inside-out and then hit a few shots. When the ball goes in, it’s a little easier to play.”

Bridgeport built its lead back to seven, but the Huskies trailed 29-28 at halftime after back-to-back 3s from Preston Williams.

The Huskies made 7-of-8 field-goal attempts in the second quarter, though they entered halftime with 11 turnovers.

“Early in the first quarter, we hit shots and that helps not only calm your guys down, but it also helps stretch the defense a little bit,” Marshall said. “At the same time, I told them at halftime, it became a little bit of fools gold in that we started standing and shooting too many threes. That’s why there was a foul discrepancy in the first half that wasn’t in our favor. It had nothing to do with officiating. It had everything to do with the aggressiveness of North Marion and going downhill to the rim and us standing around the perimeter trying to shoot threes.” 

Williams’ conventional three-point play early in the second half tied it at 31, and he scored again in transition off a steal moments later to give NMHS its first advantage since 2-0.

The Huskies led by as much as four at 37-33, before Bridgeport countered with seven unanswered points to regain the lead for good. The 7-0 spurt featured a trey from Phoenix Sickles, two Ashton Curry free throws and Spatafore’s bucket in the post.

Curry’s conventional three-point play with 48 seconds to play in the third enabled the Indians to take a 45-41 lead into the fourth quarter.

Although Minor opened the fourth-quarter scoring with a basket to cut North Marion’s deficit in half, the Huskies would get no closer.

Bridgeport ran off the next seven points, which included a paint bucket from Ben Bifano, Landon Sanders’ 3 and Sickles’ layup.

Another triple from Sanders with 4:20 left gave the Tribe a 57-45 advantage and its largest lead since 14 early in the second quarter.

“It was their night,” Herbert said. “I’ve watched plenty of film on them and sometimes they shoot well. They’re inconsistent shooting, but tonight they did a great job of shooting the ball and a great job of coming off screens.”

Frey’s 3 with 3:25 remaining allowed the Huskies to trail by nine, but they got no closer.

Spatafore keyed the victory with 32 points on 11-of-17 shooting. He also had a team-high four assists.

“He trusted his teammates more tonight,” Marshall said. “He knows he has a bunch of guys that have very little experience, and it’s hard when you have that kind of skill to sit back, let things flow and trust your teammates. He did a much better job of that, which created him more scoring opportunities.”

He was the only BHS player in double figures, but Sanders scored eight and Sickles added seven to give Bridgeport a 15-0 edge in bench points.

Williams’ 16 points led the Huskies. Frey scored 14 and Harley Sickles added 11 in defeat. 

North Marion finished with 17 turnovers to Bridgeport’s 14.





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