WHEELING - Tamara Bumgardner proved to be clutch, times three.
Bumgardner came off the bench and delivered two big shots to help Wheeling Park edge Brooke 63-59 on Tuesday night at Wheeling Park's gym. It was the season opener for both teams.
First, she started a 9-0 run with a 3-pointer that took Park from six down to up three early in the fourth quarter.
Wheeling Park’s Skyler Carrington (10) pushes the ball upcourt as Brooke’s Lauren Altobell (14) defends Monday night at Wheeling Park.
Then, Bumgardner had a key three-point play with 57 seconds remaining to break a 57-57 tie.
Park then made 3 of 4 free throws down the stretch to hold off the upset-minded Bruins.
"She gave us a spark tonight with those two plays," Park coach Dee Davis said. "That was the turning point that kick-started us and helped us get the win."
That, and a spirited effort from Kendra Johnson, who, despite suffering a cramp early in the fourth quarter, stayed in the game, finished with 19 points and made a key defensive play.
After Bumgardner's three-point play, the Bruins brought the ball across half-court, where Johnson deflected it away to teammate Kambrea O'Neal, who was fouled immediately. She made both free throws to make it a five-point game.
After Angela Staffelino put back her own miss, giving her a game-high 27 points, Chloe Robb made 1 of 2 free throws (she was 9 of 12 in the fourth quarter and finished with 14 points) to seal the game.
The teams combined to shoot 51 free throws. Park was 23 of 28, Brooke 14 of 23.
"We actually didn't foul as much as we normally do, which is good," joked Brooke coach Ryan Scherich. "I thought we did a good job, we just had a couple of mental lapses on defense and you can't do that against Park. They are a good shooting team."
Scherich was talking about Bumgardner's 3-pointer that was followed immediately by a 3-pointer by Robb, which tied the game at 42-42. The game was last tied at 57-57, before Bumgardner's three-point play.
"We have to improve, and get rid of some of our bad habits, and we have to do it quick," said Davis, noting the Patriots travel to defending Class AAA state champion Parkersburg South Friday.
Danielle Kutrovac added 10 points for Park.
Staffelino added 13 rebounds to her 27 points for the Bruins and Michaela Hinerman added 14, including 9 of 14 at the free throw line.