BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. (WV News) — Herman Pierson saw his Bridgeport girls team grow into a Class AA power through the 2019-2020 season, going from losing to North Marion by 40-plus points midway through the season to coming within a shot trickling off the rim at the buzzer from knocking them off in the state quarterfinals.
But the Indians will now face schools twice their size this season as the team has moved into the new Class AAAA lineup, and Pierson knows another rebuild-type of season could be in the offing again.
The Indians start the 2021 season tonight when they travel to Fairmont to face Big 10 Conference rival and Class AAA No. 1 Fairmont Senior at the Fairmont Senior Field House.
“We scrimmaged at Parkersburg South last night and on a scale of 1-to-10, I’d give us a six,” Pierson said Tuesday. “We did some things really well and we did some things not so good, but I think we can readily fix those things.”
The Indians lose Madison Wilson and Macey Phillips from last season’s squad, but do return Class AA all-staters Paige Humble (second team) and Gabby Reep (third team).
In addition, second team all-Harrison County guard Hannah Bartlett is back as well.
“We’ll have a mix of some experience and some not so experienced girls playing together,” Pierson said. “We have two girls who will play a lot that have not played basketball in a while.
“Ali Bender has been a standout soccer player and is giving basketball a try and Reagan Moore hasn’t played in three years, but you won’t be able to tell that.
“I like the mix of girls we have.”
Senior guard Annamarie Pinti also returns and lends a solid outside shooting game to the BHS repertoire.
Humble averaged 17 points and nine rebounds a game last season, while Reep came on strong late in the year and ended up averaging over 13 points per game.
Bartlett added nearly 7.0 points per game and also was the team’s defensive stopper.
“Hannah gives us a versatile player that can play the 1, 2 or 3 spot,” Pierson said. “She and Bender are really good defensive players.
“I feel like we have six starters and we’ll probably mix and match depending on the opposition.”
Elizabeth Deniker, a 5-9 senior, also returns after lettering last season, but is questionable because of a foot injury.
“That’s a big loss because she gave us some length and some experience,” Pierson said.
Sophomores Lexi Bombardiere and Eowyn Knapp are expected to vie for minutes, as are freshmen Emily Anderson and Maddy Amick.
“To play 17 games in six weeks, we are definitely going to need some depth to do that,” Pierson said. “I think the two sophomores (Bombardiere and Knapp) and the two freshmen (Amick and Anderson) are capable of doing that.
“Anderson is right at 6-foot tall and Amick will give us depth at the point guard slot.”
The Indians’ home opener will occur Friday when they host rival Lincoln.
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