BRIDGMAN — The Bridgman High School girls basketball team defended its home court against River Valley on Dec. 16 with a stellar defensive effort.

The Bees led by a single point (7-6) at the end if a low-scoring first quarter, but a pair of baskets by Olivia Tomlin followed by buckets from Samantha Rydwelski, Arie Hackett, Maggie Griffiths and Elise Schmaltz gave Bridgman a 20-10 half-time advantage.

“It’s just a team thing ... we just have to play hard on defense” Griffiths said.

Points were hard to come by in the third period, but the Bees got most of them as a lay-up Hackett midway through the quarter and Schmaltz’s jumper at the 1:40 mark opened up a 24-10 lead.

Natalyn Heckathorn ended RV’s scoring drought with 1:25 showing on the clock, but a late hoop by Schmaltz left the tally 26-13 heading into the final frame.

“I’m just proud of my team overall,” said Tomlin.

Bridgman out-scored the Mustangs 12-7 in the fourth quarter to prevail by a 38-20 final score.

Five different Bees (Hackett, Rydwelski, Griffiths, Tomlin and Ava Starbuck) scored over the final 8 minutes.

Heckathorn, Rebecca Oman and Annekah Witter hit shots for River Valley down the stretch.

Bridgman coach Kim Lundin said exam week and recent games against Brandywine and Buchanan tested the squad, but they still got a good win at home.

Schmaltz and Rydwelski led a balanced Bee attack with 8 points each. Griffiths, Hackett and Tomlin all finished with 6 points.

Heckathorn paced the Mustangs with a game-high 11 points.

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