Bridgeport's Girls Basketball Season Comes to Close in Charleston as Tribe Falters against Frankfort

By Jeff Toquinto on March 07, 2018 via

With seven seconds left, Bridgeport’s hopes of advancing to the second round of the Class AA girls basketball state tournament appeared to almost certainly be over.
Frankfort’s talented point guard Abby Beeman had just sliced through the BHS defense for a layup and what would be a one-point lead prior to a Bridgeport timeout with just over five seconds to play. For those thinking the Indians had absolutely no chance, they were mistaken.
A long inbound pass to Rory Marple got Bridgeport the ball near the 28 foot line and Tribe Coach Dennis Hutson called a timeout. With 2.8 seconds to go, BHS got the ball back and inbounded to senior Kaitlin Smith.
Smith, who has been a four-year standout, took the pass and ball faked her defender and the move left her open for what would have been the game-winning shot. Unfortunately, the ball was off the mark and the Indians fell by a 53-52 score at the Charleston Civic Center this evening.
Bridgeport closes the year at 18-8. Frankfort advances to the semifinal round at 19-7.
“We got what we wanted. It’s a set play that we already had in,” said Hutson of the game’s final seconds. “The kids are comfortable with that and we got a decent look. That’s all you can ask. At least we didn’t throw it away and not have an opportunity … They did a real good job of executing the last play.”
Beeman’s late basket marked just the second time in the second half – both in the final two minutes of the game – where the Falcons led. Bridgeport actually led by four points at 50-46 with Bria Jacobs scoring on a layup off a feed from Emily Riggs at the 3:15 mark of the fourth.
After that, Bridgeport would not score another basket. The most disheartening part was that the Tribe missed a couple of layups during the final minutes and also missed a late one-and-one to put themselves in position to where Beeman sealed it with the late drive.
“It was a heartbreaking loss … I thought we had control of it there in the middle of the fourth quarter but we made a couple of mistakes and missed a couple of layups … We wanted to foul (Beeman) on the floor there because we had a foul to give, but we didn’t get that done,” said Hutson of the final basket.
Frankfort scored five straight points after BHS went up by four. Makenna Douthitt hit a 3-pointer from the left baseline and Beeman buried a couple of free throws with 1:57 to play to put Frankfort in front for the first time since early in the second quarter – this time by a 51-50 score.
Bridgeport responded when Rory Marple was fouled with 1:06 to play. She knocked down both free throws for the Tribe’s final points and final advantage at 52-51.
Beeman would finish the game with a game-high 26 points, including a 5-for-12 effort from the 3-point line. She also had six assists.
“The Beeman girl is just such a tough matchup. She breaks you down and tonight she shot the ball really well; we’re talking about making 3-point shots three or four feet behind the college (3-point) line,” said Hutson.
Beeman wasn’t the only one making an impressive showing. Emily Riggs had another spectacular postseason effort and it came despite playing all 32 minutes and being tasked with trying to contain Beeman most of the night.
Riggs finished with a team-high 20 points on a crisp 8-of-13 from the field that included and even better showing of 4-of-5 from behind the 3-point line. Riggs also led the Indians with five assists.
“I hated to have to have Emily guard (Beeman) all night because Emily’s such an offensive force for us,” said Hutson. “Emily is our best on-ball defender, which is why we had her on her.”
Beeman was the only Frankfort player in double figures. Marple added 11 points for Bridgeport and a game-high 11 rebounds. She also blocked a game-high four shots.
There was no indication that the game was going to turn into a down-to-the-wire classic. Instead, the game began sluggish.
The first quarter started off poorly for both teams and with the exception of a 2 minute stretch by the Indians, the Tribe’s poor play stood out in a bad way. After taking a 6-3 lead with three minutes left on a 17 foot jumper by Marple, the Tribe wouldn’t score again.
Frankfort closed the quarter on a 9-0 run. Macie Miller led the way by hitting back-to-back 3-point field goals to give the Falcons a 9-6 advantage that they would eventually stretch it to 12-6 after one period of play.
While FHS shot a dismal 4-of-16 from the floor in the first eight minutes, it looked solid next to the Tribe’s effort. Bridgeport finished the frame 2-for-11 from the field.
As cold as BHS was in the first quarter, it didn’t seem to interfere with the squad to start the second quarter. Bridgeport hit its first four shots as part of a 12-4 surge to make it 18-16. Riggs capped the run with a drive at the 3:54 mark.
Bridgeport maintained the two-point advantage at the half by a 24-22 count. Sarah Haynes scored the Tribe’s final basket – and the final basket of the half – on an offensive rebound with 52 seconds left.
Beeman, who was held without a basket for most of the first half despite facilitating on several FHS hoops, finally got going late. In a 30-second span she hit a pair of deep 3-point field goals, the last of which came at the 2:07 to give her squad their last lead of the first half at 22-20.
Bridgeport finished the opening half shooting 9-of-26 from the floor (34.6 percent), which was bolstered by a 7-of-15 showing in the second period. Frankfort finished the half 8-of-28 (28.6 percent).
Beeman led Frankfort with seven points at halftime. Riggs passed the Indians with nine points.
The Indians came out strong in the third period. In fact, the Tribe took their biggest lead of the night at 36-29 when Haynes hit on one of two free throws at the 4:23 mark. The Indians were able to take a four-point lead into the final eight minutes at 43-39 thanks to Riggs knocking down three 3-point field goals in the segment to set up the dramatic final quarter.
“We just needed to hit another bucket some place and it didn’t happen,” said Hutson.
The contest marked the final game a pair of seniors. Guard Bronlie Jacobs, who hasn’t played for weeks due an injury and who was in her first year with the Indians, and Smith. Smith has been a four-year standout for the Tribe.
“The leadership that Kaitlin has given has just been tremendous,” said Hutson.  “She’s my go-to kid … I’m extremely proud of her.”
Bridgeport finished the game shooting 18-of-45 from the field for 40 percent. Frankfort was 20-of-51 for 39.2 percent.
The Falcons will play top-seed North Marion in the semifinals at 1 p.m. Friday. The Huskies survived a huge scare from Bluefield by a 58-56 score.
Editor's Note: Photos by Ben Queen of Joey Signorelli of

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