BRIDGMAN — The Berrien Springs girls basketball team needed a come-from-behind effort to get by conference foe Bridgman on Friday, Feb. 8.
The Shamrocks trailed by eight points at halftime, but used a strong second-half effort to force overtime before edging the Bees 38-31 in the extra period to earn a Berrien- Cass-St. Joseph Red Division victory at on Bridgman’s Winterfest night.
“I thought the first half was just flat. Offensively and defensively we were just flat,” said Berrien Springs coach William Eichberg. “That was our third game in the last four days with some of the makeup games, so it was just flat. I told them, ‘You guys have more in the tank. Don’t save anything.’
Berrien Springs’ boys team also won game two of the doubleheader, holding off a late Bridgman rally to prevail 43-39.
In the girls’ opener, Berrien Springs (3-4 BCS Red, 6-8) and Bridgman (1-6, 6-8) traded baskets early on before the Bees opened up a 16-8 lead at the half after going on a 12-4 run to close out the second.
The Shamrocks opened the third by scoring six straight to cut the lead to 16-14, and held Bridgman to just four total points in the third to cut the deficit to just one entering the fourth.
“I feel like it’s the same story as the last game we played,” said Bees coach Kim Lundin. “We have this great momentum, and then halftime comes. We’re just not being a very strong third-quarter team right now, so it’s something we’re going to work on for the rest of the season.”
The teams again traded points in the fourth, with neither team building a lead larger than three points in the final quarter.
With a minute remaining and the Bees trailing 2928, Bridgman’s Mackenzie Norris scored a layup and was fouled, converting the free throw to put Bridgman on top 31-29.
Berrien Springs’ Narpreet Singh then converted a layup at the other end to force the overtime period.
The Shamrocks dominated in overtime, scoring seven points in the period and keeping the Bees scoreless. Zoe Dortch hit a layup for the Shamrocks before Singh added a bucket of her own. She also hit two free throws to ice the game in the final 15 seconds.
Singh finished the game with a double-double, scoring 10 points and pulling in 11 rebounds to help the Shamrocks out-rebound the Bees 45-29. All 10 of Singh’s points came in the second half and overtime period.
Hillary Dortch scored a game-high 12 points for Berrien Springs, adding six rebounds, four steals three assists and a block. Iliana Mun added 10 points and seven rebounds.
The Bees committed five turnovers in the overtime period and had just one attempted shot in the extra four-minute period.
One of the Bees leading contributers, Sydney Payne, sat out for Bridgman after dislocating her kneecap against River Valley earlier in the week.
Lundin said it is uncertain if Payne will be able to return this season.
“She’s been one of our top scorers all season, so that hurt us a little bit,” said Lundin.
Hannah Lundin led the Bees with eight points. Norris scored seven and had eight rebounds.
In the boys game, Berrien Springs (3-5 BCS Red, 7-8) opened up a 35-24 lead early in the fourth quarter before Bridgman (1-7, 6-10) began to mount a comeback.
The Shamrocks started to play conservative in the fourth, electing to hold and move the ball around on the offensive side rather than attack the basket.
Bridgman stayed patient defensively, forcing a turnover and a few missed shots, while hitting three 3-pointers in the final quarter, to close the gap to four points on two separate occasions.
With under 30 seconds remaining, however, Berrien Springs’ Jackson Glanzer was fouled, missing the front end of the one-and-one. The Shamrocks’ Sam Spaulding pulled in the offensive rebound and was fouled, hitting one-of-two foul shots to stretch the lead to 42-37.
Bridgman’s Jackson Schmaltz hit a put-back with under 10 seconds remaining, but it wasn’t enough for the Bees, who ran out of time to finish the comeback.
“We missed six free throws, so that hurt,” said Bridgman coach Mike Miller. “We were down four with 30 seconds left and they missed a free throw, but we missed a box-out and gave up our opportunity. Those things really hurt us down the stretch.
“We were right there. I’m proud of the kids. They’re very resilient and they made a nice run.”
Schmaltz led Bridgman with 15 points and four rebounds. Evan Hoge led Berrien Springs with 14 points. Junior center Hunter Adams did not play.
For the Shamrocks, the win over Bridgman was their third straight. Coach Karl Finley said he thinks the team is peaking at right time nearing the end of the season.
“I think, now, with a little more confidence and how they’ve seen these last three games, I just think this is a really good group,” said Finley. “Any physicality was bugging us early this season. Now, it helps us with our execution.
“I’m very happy for them, because they work really hard in practice. I can’t be upset about the way the season has gone so far. We’re all getting on one page now. The camaraderie is what you want now this time of year.”