By Michael Minnich
Tribune Sports Editor
mminnich@newstribune.info
FAIRMONT—Minus top scorer Sydney Lyons and key piece Khara Teets due to injuries, the Keyser Lady Tornado gamely battled the Bridgeport Lady Indians for three quarters, but saw Monday morning's game slip away on neutral ground at East Fairmont High School, 66-54.
Bethany Jones led Keyser with 13 points, while Katlynn Tichnell tallied 11 and Brie Kunis and Jayna Wilson 10 each.
Hope Chalfant scored 22 for Bridgeport, while Quinn Stalnaker added 15 and Emily Riggs nine.
Early on, it looked like Bridgeport might run away: a three from Hope Chalfant, two Quinn Stalnaker free throws, and a Gianina Renzelli jumper gave the Lady Indians a quick 7-0 lead.
Brie Kunis stemmed the tide with a jumper, then Emily Riggs answered with a bucket the other way.
But then Keyser got back in it: Kunis canned another jumper, then Bethany Jones scored a three-point play, and the Bridgeport lead was just two, 9-7, with 5:10 left in the first quarter.
Two Riggs baskets and a Chalfant three rolled the lead back to nine, 16-7, at the 3:33 mark.
A layup by Jayna Wilson and a Jones jumper stemmed the tide, then baskets by Kaitlin Smith, Jones, and Rory Marple capped the quarter: Bridgeport led, 20-13.
With Kunis and Wilson sitting with two fouls, Stephanie Alvaro's two free throws pushed the Bridgeport lead to nine.
But Keyser answered emphatically.
Jones started things with a jumper, then, after a Chalfant layup, Katlynn Tichnell made two free throws for Keyser.
Mychaela Antill made one of two at the line for Bridgeport, but Keyser tallied the next five on an Aubrey Smith free throw and two layups from Wilson to trail 25-22 with 1:54 to go in the half.
After a Chalfant layup, Jones and Tichnell both nailed pairs of free throws to shrink the gap to just one point, 27-26, at the 1:28 mark.
Two Riggs free throws and a Antill layup again extended the lead to five for Bridgeport, but a pair of Smith free throws made it a one-possession game at the break, 31-28.
Keyser took their first lead to open the third quarter, getting a layup from Tichnell and a jumper from Kunis, then things changed hands on layups from Stalnaker, Jones, and Stalnaker again.
A three-point play off of a nice cut from Tichnell gave KHS a 37-35 lead with 5:15 to go in the third quarter.
But Bridgeport scored the next 10 points through Stalnaker, Chalfant, and Antill to lead 45-37 at the 3:09 mark.
Keyser fought back within four on a Tichnell layup at 46-42, but the lead was back to nine, 53-44, going to the fourth.
Crystal Kuglar opened the final period with a mid-range jumper for Keyser, but Bridgeport soon moved their lead into double digits and kept it there, holding KHS without a field goal for the next 4 ½ minutes.
Keyser (7-8) will host Southern Garrett on Friday; the JV game tips at 6 p.m., with the varsity to follow at 7:30 p.m.