The Lady Panthers defeated a stubborn Bridgeport team Saturday for a hard-fought 54-45 win at Hershey High School.

Hershey (7-3) looked like they would have smooth sailing when they held the Lady Bulldogs (7-3) scoreless for the first four minutes of the first quarter and built a 6-0 lead. However, Bridgeport pulled back to within two before the Panthers closed out the quarter with a five-point run to lead 11-4.

Both offenses started to find the bucket in the second period.  A few missed shots by the Panthers helped the Bulldogs get the game tied with two minutes left in the half.

Then Bridgeport took their first lead of the game 25-23 with 53 seconds left in the period on a Brittney Nelson jumper for her 15th point in the half.

Hershey freshman Shayda Vaughn answered with a long trey to put the Panthers back on top and a late basket by Channing Holm sent them to the locker room leading 28-25.

Payton Messersmith was fouled on the opening possession of the third period and made one of two free throws to make it a four-point lead for the Panthers.

But Nelson drained a long three to pull Bridgeport back to within one and less than a minute later added a two pointer to put the Bulldogs back on top 30-29.

Holm scored in the paint and was fouled. She hit the free throw to put the Panthers up by two.

Ellie Cline answered with a jumper to give the Bulldogs another tie at 32. It turned out to be the last tie of the contest.

The Panthers found Emily Barr under the basket and she used the backboard to put the ball in the net and give the Panthers a 34-32 lead.

Brideport hit a free throw to cut the lead to one.  Hershey turned the ball over but put on full court pressure.  Bridgeport in-bounded the ball to Cline under their own basket.  However, in one of the most unlikely plays,  she got confused and laid the ball into the net to give Hershey two points and a three point lead that they would not relinquish.

From there, Hershey went on a 12-4 run  to end the period with a 47-38 lead.

Both offenses struggled in the fourth and the Panthers held on for the nine-point win. Poor shooting from the foul line aided Hershey as Bridgeport went 1-7 in the final period.

Holm led the Panthers with 14 points. Messersmith, Tyra Otzel and Dayonna Roberts scored 10 each.

Nelson led all scorers with 24 points for the Bulldogs and teammate Sydney Nein added 10.

Hershey hit seven three-point baskets while holding Bridgeport to just three from beyond the arc.

Next up, the Panthers will host Sutherland (2-7) on Tuesday