The rivalry between Bridge City and West Orange-Stark is decades old. The game between the two schools on Friday night at Bridge City has to rank as one of the best in the years they have met on the hardcourt. The Cardinals edged the Mustangs 54-53 in overtime.
The victory was the first in district for Bridge City (1-5). West Orange-Stark (2-4) dropped another frustrating one point loss to a county rival having lost last week by one to the Little Cypress-Mauriceville Bears.
The difference for Bridge City in capturing the win was three-point shooting and free throw shooting. The Cardinals made 10 buckets beyond the arc compared to just two for the Mustangs. From the charity stripe Bridge City was successful on eight of 13 free throws. West Orange-Stark only shot three free throws and made just one.
The Cardinals scored first and never trailed in the first quarter. Grant Boudreaux nailed two three pointers about forty seconds apart to put Bridge City up 8-4 at the 5:40 mark of the opening period.
Before the quarter ended Austin Richardson added a pair of threes in the last minute to break a tie and put the Cardinals up 18-12. Labarius Spraggins of the Mustangs closed out the first quarter scoring to cut the Bridge City lead to four points after one.
West Orange-Stark scored the first two buckets of the second quarter as Jalon Ross tied the game again at 18. Boudreaux made two free throws as Bridge City regained the lead with five minutes left in the half.
Boudreaux’s free throws started a ten-point run for the Cardinals. Two more threes were followed by two free throws from Richardson to open a 28-18 lead for Bridge City the largest of the game.
Mustang freshman Darren Anderson stopped the Cardinal streak with 1:38 left in the second. Spraggins drilled the Mustangs’ only three of the first half and then added what appeared to be another quarter ending basket to cut the Bridge City advantage to three with just seconds left before halftime.
Sophomore guard Ethan Oceguera got the inbound near half court and then launched a shot. The ball was in the air as the buzzer sounded and the swish of the net was followed by screams of excitement from the Bridge City faithful as Oceguera’s three-point bomb increased the Cardinal lead to six points 31-25.
Coming out of the locker room West Orange-Stark stormed back. Steals by Spraggins and Ross led to quick baskets, and Ross had a put back that tied the game at 31 just 90 seconds into the third quarter.
Momentum swung back to the Cardinals who then scored the next five points culminated by a bucket from Trent Roccaforte on a good feed by Boudreaux. The now seesaw match found the big guys for the Mustangs Shemar Manaway and Quincy Ledet hitting jump shots to retake the lead 37-36 with just over two minutes to play in the third.
After Boudreaux retook the lead with a basket for Bridge City, Oceguera scored the next four points with a field goal and two free throws. Ledet scored the last basket of the quarter for West Orange-Stark as the teams went to the final quarter with the Cardinals up 42-39.
As they did in the third quarter, the Mustangs reeled off the first four points in less than 90 seconds of the fourth quarter to go ahead 43-42. Richardson answered for the Cardinals with a three to put Bridge City ahead by two.
The Mustang fans came to their feet with 4:55 left in regulation when Ledet sank a trey that gave West Orange-Stark the lead again 47-45. Ledet then showed he could pass the ball and assisted Spraggins for an easy bucket that increased the Mustang lead to their largest 49-46 with three minutes to play in the fourth.
Another clutch three point shot by the Cardinals’ Richardson tied the game with 1:45 remaining in the fourth. The Mustangs got the final shot of regulation but the ball hit the front of the rim and bounced backwards forcing overtime.
Both teams missed layups as the overtime started. Dylan Collazo got the first points of the extra period with his second three pointer of the game.
West Orange-Stark scored the next two baskets, one by Spraggins, and one by Manaway with just 15 seconds left to give the Mustangs a 53-52 lead. Bridge City brought the ball down court and put the rock in the hands of their best scorer Richardson. He did not disappoint driving the right side of the lane and making a layup that put the Cardinals up 54-53 with only 2.7 seconds to play.
After a timeout the Mustangs attempted the inbound pass. Ray Epperly made the key defensive play for the Cardinals near midcourt blocking the pass as the ball then rolled harmlessly out of bounds as the horn sounded ending the game.
Richardson was the high scorer for the Cardinals with 22 points thanks to five three pointers. Boudreaux also scored in double figures with 11 and Oceguera finished with 9 points.
Spraggins matched Richardson with 22 points for the Mustangs. Manaway scored 10 points, Ledet tallied 9, and Ross had 8 points.
Bridge City will travel to Silsbee to play the Tigers on Tuesday. West Orange-Stark is off on Tuesday. The Mustangs play again at home on Friday against Silsbee.
-Dan Perrine, KOGT-
WOS 14 11 14 10 4- 53
BC 18 13 11 7 5- 54