LANSING - Shadyside didn't taste its first victory last season until well into January.
It didn't take the Tigers nearly that long this season as Ed Andes' club rallied three times in the fourth quarter before escaping the with a 42-39 victory against Bridgeport on Tuesday night.
''It's good for these kids to get the first victory,'' Andes said. ''We're still a young team, and as we're trying to build a team it's great to win early to give them confidence.''
The fact Shadyside had to earn the victory was something that pleased the head coach.
''I thought we played well down the stretch other than a few turnovers here and there,'' Andes said.
After Cole Smelley connected on two foul shots with 3:01 to play, Bridgeport (0-2) held a 35-33 edge.
Robby Dyson's lone field goal at the 1:28 answered a transition bucket by Tigers junior Adam Stupak, putting the Bulldogs up, 37-36.
Skyler Gibson gave the Tigers the lead with 38 seconds to go when he buried a triple from the left corner. However, Shadyside committed a foul in the backcourt, sending junior Dallas Fields to the line for a bonus situation. He made 1-of-2, but the Tigers failed to block out and Smelley got the offensive board and was fouled in the act.
He, too, buried just 1-of-2, knotting the game at 39-39 with 36 seconds to go.
The teams traded turnovers and timeouts before Shadyside worked the ball into the front court, hoping to get the final shot.
''To be honest, we had three different looks (down the stretch),'' Andes said. ''My first goal was to get a layup, but if it wasn't there then we felt like we could get a good look from 3. We just wanted to get a good look, but it really didn't matter who took the shot.''
Ryan Richardson buried a deep trey from the right wing with 6 seconds showing. Bridgeport Donnie Cash got the timeout called with 4.5 seconds to go.
The Bulldogs inbounded to Smelley, who took the ball up the right sideline and his desperation shot at the horn came up short .
''We had the ball up one with 40 seconds to go, and they had to foul us,'' Cash said. ''We didn't execute on a sideout play. We should have drew something up and we turned it over on a pass. We wanted Cole with the ball, and we had a timeout, but if we call it we might have only had less than a second to go. So I thought we were better to just go."
Stupak led the way with 14 points, while Richardson finished with nine.
Bridgeport, meanwhile, was led by Smelley who scored 14, and Fields added 10.