BRIDGMAN — The Bridgman High School varsity girls basketball team dominated the first half of their Monday, Feb. 4, game against River Valley and then held on to pull out a 41-38 victory.
“The girls came through in the end and I’m proud of them,” said Bridgman coach Kim Lundin.
The visiting Mustangs built an early 5-1 lead thanks to a Taylor Volstorf basket and Haizea Ruiz’s three-point play. Bridgman finished the opening period on a 7-0 run as Sydney Payne, Savanna Tate (a three-pointer) and Mackenzie Warren scored.
Bridgman out-scored River Valley 10-4 in the second stanza to lead 18-9 at the half. Payne and Hannah Lundin each tallied four points in the quarter while Lily Badger contributed a bucket.
Emma Springer scored all four of the Mustang’s second-period points.
Tate opened the third quarter by sinking a “3” — and the Bees held their largest advantage of the night (21-9).
River Valley spent the rest of the second half playing catch-up — and nearly succeeding.
The Mustangs reeled off eight straight points (on a Springer basket, Volstorf’s three-pointer, a drive to the hoop by Ruiz and a Tiffany Hyatt free throw) to make it a 21-17 ballgame.
Bridgman’s lead fell as low as a single point 28-27) as the third frame went on, but another “3” from Tate and consecutive field goals by Lundin and later by Payne left the Bees on top 30-27 heading into the fourth quarter.
Scores by Tate and Mackenzie Norris helped the home team gain a bit of breathing room in the form of a 34-29 advantage with 3:26 to go.
River Valley kept the pressure on down the stretch, with Ruiz’s scoop shot at the 1:21 mark cutting the lead to 34-32.
Jessie Rieth’s free throw with 48 seconds remaining pulled River Valley withing one (35-34), but Bridgman would hit 6-of-8 opportunities from the foul line over the final 38 seconds (Tate went 4-for-4, later saying “It’s just like practice”) to offset late RV baskets by Springer and Ruiz.
“It was a team effort. We couldn’t have done it without each other,” Tate said.
She led all scorers with 14 points. Payne finished with 11 while Lundin scored 6 for the Bees.
Springer and Ruiz each had 13 points for the Mustangs while Volstorf tallied 10.
River Valley coach Jason Alexander said the Mustangs need to get off to a better start and play the entire 32 minutes at this point in the season.
The Bridgman boays and girls teams are scheduled to host Berrien Springs on Friday, Feb. 8, for the 2019 Winterfest games.
The school’s DECA Club has a lasagna dinner scheduled for that evening as well.