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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Bulldogs Win First Round of the Duel at The Dome

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After a win against the Mena Bearcats, the Dogs traveled to West Fork to play the Prairie Grove Tigers in the first round of the Duel at the Dome. With the Dogs playing back-to-back nights they came out sluggish but managed to keep the game close and kicked it in during the 4th quarter.

The Dogs started out in their 2-3 zone defense and forced the Tigers to shoot perimeter shots and they quickly buried two deep threes. Waldron came out slow in the 1st quarter. They had problems finishing inside layups and turning over the ball. Coach Atchley brought in a whole new group to try to spark some momentum, but the Dogs continued to struggle from the field. After a layup from Ethan Mayberry and two free throws from “Fish” McConnell the Dogs ended the 1st quarter down 4-12.

Trenton Hunt got the 2nd quarter started for the Dogs with a post move layup to make the score 6-13. The Dogs stuck to their zone defense and allowed the Tigers to get a lot of offensive rebounds. After a free throw by Camdon Holcomb the Dogs switched to a full court press defense to try to force some turnovers and that is what they accomplished. Chris Lopez and Kason Moudy both got steals that led to easy transition baskets layups to get the Dogs within 6. Going into halftime McConnell nailed a 3-pointer to make the score 16-19 at half.

Coming out of the half the Dogs extended their half-court zone and put some pressure on the Tiger ball handlers. Waldron was able to get their offense going after Payton Justice converted an old-fashioned 3-point play. Shortly after Hunt got a short jumper to fall to get the Dogs within 4 with the score of 21-25. The Bulldogs were still having trouble turning the ball over, allowing the Tigers to get transition points. To end the 3rd quarter McConnell splashed back-to-back 3-pointers to make the score 27-32 advantage Tigers.

 Waldron came into the 4th quarter determined to take the lead and that is exactly what they did. Ethan Mayberry quickly buried a 3-pointer and shortly after got an and-one layup to fall to put the Bulldogs ahead at 33-32. The Dogs continued their press defense and sped up the pace of the game. Prairie Grove was able to grab the lead but only momentarily as Mayberry added another three to make the score 38-37. The Tigers began a full-court press of their own, but the Dogs were able to beat it as Holcomb made a short jumper and Hunt added a layup to put the Dogs up 42-39. With the clock against the Tigers, they were forced to foul and send the Dogs to the free throw line. After two missed free throws by the Dogs the Tigers had the ball with a chance to tie the game and send it to overtime, but Tigers final shot fell short and allowed the Dogs to take home the close win with the final score being 44-41.

Ethan Mayberry and “Fish” McConnell led the Bulldogs in scoring with 11 points apiece. Hunt finished the night with 8 points and Justice added 5.

The Bulldogs will travel back to West Fork to play the Bergman Panthers on December 2nd at 6:30 in the semifinals of the Duel at the Dome.

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