Monroe Central bounces back to topple Bridgeport

WOODSFIELD — Robert Bigler made, perhaps, the biggest shot Friday night inside the Monroe Central High School gym.

The senior drained a 3-pointer from the right corner with 2:46 remaining that capped a 5-0 run by the Seminoles and paved the way for the hosts’ 58-53 boys’ basketball triumph against Bridgeport.

“He wants to be a scorer and score a lot,” Monroe Central head coach Jon Perkins said. “But I told him that shot was one of the most important of the night as far as momentum went and it was what we needed at the time.”

Indeed.

The Bulldogs had grabbed a one-point lead — 51-50 — after Travonn Ray scored five straight points. And after Ryan LaFollete dropped in a layup to put the Seminoles back on top moments later, it was still anyone’s game.

Until Bigler’s shot tickled the twine.

From there, Bridgeport went cold. And while Monroe Central did, too, to a degree, Wyatt Young’s layup with about a minute to play was all the Seminoles needed to secure the vicory, which came one night after falling by 22 at Bellaire.

“To come back one night after losing, we’re proud of what they did,” Perkins said.

The teams entered the fourth quarter tied at 41.

Debuting Bridgeport grabbed a quick 3-point lead when John Simmons hit the second of back-to-back trifectas.

From there, though, the Seminoles went on a 7-0 run keyed by its leading scorers — LaFollette and Zac Jones. Jones’ turnaround jumper brought Monroe Central to within one before LaFollette gave the hosts the lead for good with a 3-point play with 6:24 remaining. Jones followed that with a pair of free throws.

Both players finished with game highs of 18 points.

“Zac has really worked in the wieght room,” Perkins noted. “He put on 16 pounds and I think it’s really paying dividends.”

After Anthony Allen brought the Bulldogs to within two with a layup, Young missed a wide open 3 at the other end. But he got his own rebound and drove in for the layup putting the Seminoles up four again — 50-46.

Bridgeport didn’t produce a field goal in about the final four minutes of the game, something that Bulldogs head coach Donnie Cash said, along with mental mistakes down the stretch, contributed to the loss.

Still, he was pleased with how his squad responded, despite being down seven points at various stages in the contest.

“I’m not into moral victories, but our kids battled and they played hard,” Cash said. “They didn’t give up.

“Last year, we might’ve hung our heads, folded the tents and packed it in. They showed some fight. A couple of kids apologized. But this one isn’t on the kids. It’s on me 100 percent.”

Cash said he felt comfortable going into the final quarter deadlocked.

“The last quarters of our four scrimmages were our best quarters, so I wasn’t feeling any nervousness,” he said. “Simmons hits a 3 to get us back in the lead and then we just missed some opportunities. I think we settled a little too much on jumpers whhen we could’ve attacked the basket. We quit attacking.”

Macrea Doyle finished with a team-best 16 points for Bridgeport, while Ray had 13.

Both teams hit the road Tuesday, with Bridgeport visiting Shadyside and Monroe Central visiting Magnolia.

“I saw a lot of positives,” Perkins said. “We’re headed in the right direction.”

The Seminoles also won the reserve contest, 53-45.

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