Bulldogs hold off Devils

BRIDGEPORT – Bridgeport scored the first 12 points of the game here Friday night inside the John J. Havlicek Gymnasium, but had to hold off a furious Beallsville rally for a 67-58 boys’ basketball victory on Frank Baxter Court.

Bulldog juniors QJ Williams (4) and Parker Dyson (3) combined for seven points in the game-opening run, which saw the Blue Devils misfire on their first eight shots from the floor.

“I know it was the season-opener, but we’ve got to have that killer instinct,” Bridgeport head coach Donnie Cash stressed. “We’ve got to develop that as the year goes on for those situations.”

Meanwhile, the cold start by Beallsville was the last thing that rookie head coach Jordan Stephens wanted to see as his career kicked off.

“That’s tough when they have a great start like that,” Stephens admitted. “I had actually told my team that we needed to get off to a good start because we were playing on the road, but, unfortunately, that’s not what happened.

“Hats off to them,” he said of Bridgeport. “They played well early on and got us behind the eight-ball.”

Following Bridgeport’s 12-0 spurt, Beallsville followed with a 7-0 run of its own as Chad Louden got the Blue Devils first points with a three-pointer at the 3:50 mark, but they would trail 17-14 after eight minutes.

A 10-1 run by the Bulldogs to start the second quarter bumped the margin to 12, 27-15, as Williams tallied five points in the stretch.

Beallsville stayed close behind the individual effort of Dalton Secrest, the 6-3, 270-pound sackmaster in football. He stopped the bleeding with six points down the stretch, but Bridgeport still led, 34-23, at the half.

Six quick points to start the third stanza gave the hosts a 40-23 advantage, but Stephens had seen enough and called for a 30-second timeout.

Whatever the youthful Blue Devils head coach told his troops, they listened.

Beallsville went on a 14-7 run to slice the deficit to 10, 47-37, at the end of three quarters. Secrest was the catalyst, scoring 11 of his game-high 25 points in the quarter.

“Dalton had a great game,” Stephens allowed. “First game of his senior year and was his best game ever. he can do a lot of good things for a big man.”

The Blue Devils would eventually pull to within five, 54-49, when Louden knocked down a trey from the left corner with 4:23 remaining.

However, that would be as close as the Monroe Countians would get as Bridgeport meshed nine of 11 free throws down the stretch, including a 5-for-6 effort by junior point guard Koty Seevers.

“Free-throw shooting has been our Achilles heel the last couple of seasons,” Cash admitted. “But we have really been working on them in practice and the kids knocked them down tonight.”

Williams, who missed the final nine games of the football season with an ankle injury, didn’t show any signs of the injury as he scored a team-best 19 points, while also grabbing a game-high nine rebounds and handing out three assists.

“QJ played well for not having practiced that much,” Cash allowed. “But he can get better.”

Joining him in double figures were junior Robert Teeman with 13 and Seevers with 11. Seevers added half-a-dozen rebounds and a like number of assists, while Teeman hauled in five rebounds. Dyson, who was plagued by foul problems, added nine points, including a pair of clutch baskets in the waning moments.

Louden overcame a cold shooting night to fire in 17 points for Beallsville, which played without the services of injured starters Chase Mercer and Tristan Palmer. Logan Nippert chipped in 10 markers. Cole Susac had nine rebounds.

Bridgeport led 32-25 off the glass and turned the ball over two more times at 14-12.

No JV game was contested.

BEALLSVILLE (58) – Nippert 4 0-0 10; Louden 7 0-0 17; Palmer 0 2-4 2; Susac 2 0-0 4; Secrest 9 7-8 25; G. Brown 0 0-0 0; Rush 0 0-0 0; Totals: 22-56 9-12. BRIDGEPORT (67) – Seevers 2 5-6 11; Teeman 5 3-4 13; McGrath 2 0-0 6; Williams 8 3-3 19; Dyson 4 1-1 9; Cash 2 3-4 7; Sieber 1 0-0 2; Totals: 24-49 15-18.

Three-Point Goals: Beallsville 5 (Louden 3, Nippert 2). Bridgeport 4 (McGrath 2, Seevers 2)

North can be reached at knorth@timesleaderonline.com