CHARLESTON - Midway through the second quarter, Wheeling Park led 19-11 and had kept Bridgeport all-stater Miki Glenn off the scoreboard.
Two free throws helped Glenn get going and as she went, so did the Indians.
Bridgeport (26-1) finished the first half on a 14-0 run and held Wheeling Park at bay the rest of the way en route to a 58-38 victory Friday in the semifinals of the West Virginia Class AAA Girls' State Basketball Tournament at the Charleston Civic Center.
Photo by Ben Queen
Wheeling Park’s Emily Puskarich surveys the scene as she brings the ball up the floor during Friday’s Class AAA semifinal against Bridgeport.
''We are very disappointed,'' Wheeling Park coach Meredith Dailer said. ''This is our first time in the semis and being that one step closer makes this hurt that much more.
''That last half of the second quarter, they went on a little bit of a run and we couldn't quite get our bearings. Third quarter we played them even and fourth quarter we upped the tempo. Basketball just goes that way sometimes.
''We foul, they knock down their foul shots. We get some looks, but we don't get second-chance opportunities and it stretches out to a 20-point game. Do I think they are 20 points better? Not necessarily. I think it was just the way the game played out.''
After being held scoreless in the first quarter and being limited to two shots, Glenn scored eight in the second quarter and finished with game-highs of 26 points and 10 rebounds.
Glenn's up-tempo play has made her a pain for every team she has played this season and Wheeling Park (22-5) was no different.
Whenever she got her hands on the ball, Glenn was up the floor quickly before the Patriots could get back in position, leading to four layups and two pull-up jumpers.
When the Patriots tried to close in on her, Glenn kicked out and found her teammates wide open behind the 3-point line. Bridgeport knocked down six of them, two each by Amanda Marshall, Courtney Small, and Kalie Hadsell.
''We talked about it at the shoot around and No. 23 (Small) hit one right off the bat and we knew that was something we were going to have to focus on and contest,'' Dailer said. ''That is why they are in the state championship game. They have kids that can knock down shots and it makes a huge difference.''
Marissa Tucker, who led the Patriots with 16 points, scored on a basket at the beginning of the third quarter to end the Indians run.
Wheeling Park made it a one-possession game later in the third after a 3-pointer by Tucker, but Bridgeport closed the quarter strong and went into the fourth with a six-point lead.
Baskets by Glenn and Gabi Hamner put Bridgeport ahead by double digits (40-30) for the first time.
Bridgeport made 10 free throws to close the game and send the Indians into the first girls' state title game in school history in their final season in Class AAA.
''The first quarter, our positioning wasn't as good on the defensive end,'' Bridgeport coach Dave Marshall said. ''When you are playing a team coached by Meredith Dailer and with those kind of athletes, if you are out of position, you are about to pay for it.
''As the game wore on, our position got a little bit better. I think their girls maybe got a little bit tired but I was pleased with the defensive effort at the end.''
Emily Puskarich added 11 points for the Patriots. Hadesll (11) and Small (10) were the other double-figure scorers for the Indians.