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Bridgman's defense too much for Kalamazoo Christian; Bees win 56-37

Basketball   | Alysia Babcock

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Kalamazoo – Bridgman made the long drive to Kalamazoo worthwhile as it defeated Kalamazoo Christian 56-37 in a nonconference game at Christian on Wednesday.

Christian (10-5) is in first place in the Kalamazoo Valley Association and Bridgman (12-3) is in first place in the BCS League.

The Bees started out with a fast-paced offense and a tough defense that resulted in an 8-0 lead midway through the first quarter.

 The Bees focused on shutting down Christian’s leading scorer, Kevin Wunderly. Wunderly led Christian with 17 points including four 3-pointers.

Bridgman’s Nick Knowlton took over in the second.  He had back-to-back 3-pointers, plus two end-to-end layups that helped Bridgman take a 24-14 lead at halftime.

Christian coach Jerry Mastenbrook gave all the credit to Bridgman.

 “They’re a good team,” he said. “They hit the boards hard and are quick (to defend) at our spots.”

Christian started strong in the third thanks to Isaac Devries’ play inside and Wunderly’s back-to-back 3-pointers.

Devries’ 3-pointer with 4:30 left in the third pulled Christian to within four but it got no closer.

Minutes later Bridgman’s Nick Knowlton came up with a steal and converted a 3-point play that put his team up 33-24 with 2:49 left.

 With just over a minute left in the third Bridgman slowed the pace but Christian forced a turnover and scored and ended the quarter trailing, 36-29.

Wunderly started off the fourth with a 3-pointer but Bridgman’s Devin Hays responded with a three. Wunderly came back with a three before Bridgman’s Nick Knowlton responded with a fast break lay-up and Bridgman regained the momentum.

Knowlton led Bridgman with 19 and five assists.

  “This was a good win for us,” Knowlton said. “We had a tough loss a couple of weeks ago and we’ll use it as a motivator for our next game.”

Defense cemented the victory as Bridgman’s Brazilian exchange student, Luis Geraldi, played well down the stretch guarding Wunderly. Geraldi got into foul trouble early in the game then kept Wunderly from getting many good looks for most of the second half.  

“Luis is great on defense but his best sport is soccer,” Miller said. “This was a great team win. We passed well and had few turnovers."