CLARKSBURG -- Bridgeport survived in the opening round of the Class AA Region III, Section 1 tournament Wednesday night, fighting off Liberty, 40-33, at Robert C. Byrd.
Trailing 28-26 with 3:49 left, the Indians rallied, closing the game with a 14-5 run.
"I am very proud of our girls tonight. The postseason is all about surviving and advancing, and we accomplished that. Coach (Donnie) Kopp had a great game plan, and his girls did a strong job of executing it. You have to give them a great deal of credit," Bridgeport coach Dave Marshall said.
Freshman guard Lauren Gilbert led the Indians with 14 points, followed by senior center Rachel Williams with 10 points and a game-high eight rebounds. Brea Mentus led the Bridgeport defense with five steals.
Liberty (2-14) jumped to an early 9-3 lead behind a pair of Katy Orndorff 3-pointers and maintained an 11-8 advantage after one quarter. Bridgeport answered with strong defensive stands in the ensuing quarters, carrying an 18-14 lead into halftime and holding a 24-18 lead after three periods.
Becca Conch hit three shots in the the first four minutes of the fourth quarter, leading a 10-2 Mountaineer charge that created the late lead.
Bridgeport regained the lead at 30-28 on a pair of baskets from Mentus and Gilbert and pulled away down the stretch. While struggling early from the line, the young Indians proved clutch in the final 90 seconds, hitting 6 of 8 free throws to preserve the win.
Conch and Orndorff each scored 14 points to lead Liberty, while Orndorff dished out a game-high four assists. Jessica Lamont led Liberty in rebounding with seven rebounds. The Mountaineers finished with a 28-24 advantage in the rebounding.
Bridgeport (13-8) now plays Ritchie County in Friday night's sectional final.