State Tournament: Indians stay on path, stun Renegades
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The history of the Westside boys basketball program isn't nearly as rich as that of Bridgeport.
Unless, of course, you're talking about since the end of January during the Renegades' 10-game winning streak.
That winning streak is now a memory, as Bridgeport hit 31-of-39 free throws in a foul-ridden game for a 79-71 Class AA quarterfinal upset of the Renegades at the state tournament on Thursday at the Charleston Civic Center.
The Indians (19-7) advance to face Fairmont Senior in the semifinals at 11:15 a.m. today.
Since Feb. 2, Westside owns three wins over rival Wyoming East, avenged an earlier loss to Logan and has altered its approach to reflect more defense.
It didn't matter against the Indians, who scored more points against Westside than any team in their previous 25 games. Fairmont Senior defeated the Renegades 78-55 on Dec. 21 at Fairmont.
However, 31 of those points came from the foul line as a result of 50 fouls being called. The pace didn't change in the second half, after a 26-foul first half.
"It's hard to go away from what you do, we're an aggressive team, we want to force up on you and trap and try to force turnovers," Westside Coach Nick Cook said. "It is what it is. They shot 39 foul shots and we shot 29. We're not going to change what we do just because we're down here. Still, 31-39 that's pretty impressive from the foul line.
"We didn't do a very good job keeping them out of the paint."
This marks the fourth time Bridgeport has been to the semifinals as a Class AA team, coming away with titles in 1993 and 2001. The Indians dropped to Class AA this season.
On the other side, Westside is a combination of Oceana and Baileysville, which consolidated in 2002 to form the Wyoming County school.
More recently, the Renegades (19-7) bumped their scoring average three points and reduced their points surrendered per game by five during their winning streak.
However, Jason Scarlett - a 6-foot-4 forward who combines with 6-3 Justin Cogar to form a dominant post presence - didn't play in the third and part of the fourth quarter due to foul trouble.
"I think I'm one of the main rebounders, I think I can say that," Scarlett said. "There's nobody coming off the bench, Jordan (Haywood) maybe, but they tore us up on the rebounds."
That's when Bridgeport took control, turned a five-point deficit into a lead with a 15-5 run to start the third.
The Indians were outrebounded 26-14 in the first half, but evened it in the second with a 10-8 edge.
"(Scarlett) was a real key on their rebounding," said Bridgeport senior Tyler Sprouse, who had 10 points. "With him out, that allowed us, in the second half, we came back and maybe outrebounding them in the second half. Made it a lot easier for us."
Haywood, one of two seniors on Bridgeport's youthful roster, finished with a game-high 28 points, and was 10-of-10 from the foul line. His 9-of-17 shooting also spurred a 53.5-percent performance from the Indians, who were 14-of-16 in the second half.
"He did what seniors are supposed to do; he led us," said Bridgeport Coach Gene Randolph, who is coaching in his final state tournament after 20 years on the bench. "I told him 'You've been a stabilizing influence for us, if possible we'll need even more from you in the second half.' I thought Tyler did a great job. Both seniors should be commended for leading."
Chase Robey had 13 points, Ryan Sprouse 11 and Tyler Sprouse 10 for Bridgeport.
Cogar had 19 points for the Renegades, while Corey Bowles added 14, Scarlett 12 and Levi Lambert 11.
Both teams battled foul trouble for more than half the game, and Westside's Scarlett and Lambert fouled out.
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at email@example.com or 304-348-4837.