Shadyside blows by Bridgeport

T-L Photo/SETH STASKEY SHADYSIDE’S Alec Shepherd goes up for a shot during Tuesday’s game in Shadyside. The Tigers prevailed, 66-48 and Shepherd scored 14 points to lead the way.

SHADYSIDE — Getting your basketball legs after an extended football season can be a challenging thing for players.

It was a challenge that Shadyside wasn’t quite ready for during its season opener last Friday against Shenandoah as it scored just 32 points. Actually, that was just part of the issue for the Tigers, who are breaking in several new faces at the varsity level.

The Tigers returned to the court Tuesday and seemingly looked like a completely different team as they cruised to a 66-48 victory against Bridgeport (0-2).

As the Tigers continue to round into basketball shape, the win allowed them to take a major step forward in the confidence aspect, which head coach Ed Andes will certainly take.

“Confidence is a big thing right now,” Andes said. “We’re trying to blend some younger kids and some older kids who didn’t play a lot last year. I think we had 10 practices in coming into the (Shenandoah) game, so we didn’t look nearly as tired tonight.”

It didn’t take Andes long to survey his scorebook to see the two big stories of the games.

First and foremost was a first quarter in which they shot out to a 16-2 lead. While the Bulldogs were clanging shots from the field and line off the rim, Shadyside had five different players enter the scoring column.

The Shadyside scoring aspect is the second big story. The Tigers placed four players in double figure, which coming into the season, was a big focal point for Andes and company.

“We were able to sub a lot to keep guys fresh and it was really good to see us get off to good start,” Andes said. “Making some shots early was big for our confidence because I think (against Shenandoah), we only had 20 points with two minutes to go in the game. To have a lead and be able t score was good for the kids.”

Shadyside was led by sophomore Alec Shepherd, who scored 16 points. Senior Quinn Berletch and classmate Anthony Coggins each had 11. Freshman Bryce Amos added 10 off the bench.

Bridgeport, which is also breaking in plenty of new faces, clawed back within eight, 34-26, at halftime. However, the second half proved to be all Tigers once again.

Shadyside, which connected on seven bonus goals, outscored the Bulldogs, 18-10 in the third and 14-12 in the fourth.

Veteran Bulldogs head coach Donnie Cash wasn’t happy with the loss, but he was even more frustrated with the effort his team put forth.

“We’re just not very good right now in all aspects of the game,” Cash said. “We’re struggling to score, defend and really struggling to rebound. Until we work harder in practice and do it there, it’s going to be tough. We have to go back to square one because a lot of this is effort. We need to find the wizard because we have to look for some heart. There are two things you can’t teach and that’s heart and toughness. Right now, we have neither. We have a lot of growing up to do, but until these kids start doing it in practice, listening to the coaches and doing it to the best of their ability, we’re going to struggle.”

Bridgeport was led by Trevonn Ray’s 17 points. Dylan Gregorcic added 16.