After a colossal three-day basketball experience, the Waldron Bulldogs ended the annual Bill Frye Classic as tournament Champions. Held every year in Mansfield, the Bulldogs started the competition off by facing and defeating the Hackett Hornets 64-48. Moving on to the semi-finals, Waldron dominated the Booneville Bearcats 70-48 earning them a spot in the championship round. On December 30, the night started off innocently enough as the Waldron Bulldogs were slated to hit the hardwood against the Vian Wolverines to see who would walk away as top shot.
The first quarter ended with a mere three-point gap as Waldron held the lead 14-11. It was a quadruple Bulldog senior threat as Mason Ford, Jacob Avila, Payton Brown, and Ruben Valdez were on top of their game slaying each Wolverine that stepped in their path. Brown painted the court orange as he offensively led the team with 32 points with nine of those points coming from hitting three threes. Avila was a netting machine as he added seven points to the board while also smashing a three-point. Ford contributed five points while escaping the heat put on by the Wolverines. And Valdez was calm under pressure delivering two points to the score.
At halftime, the Bulldogs held the lead 29-19 and after that, the rest is history with Waldron stealing the win 67-50. Waldron junior trio Gada Wagner, Isaac Villarreal, and Caden Fuller were also bringing the pain by wheelin’ and dealin’ more buckets than Vian could handle. Villarreal was the “real” deal as he played with meticulous detail when handling the ball obtaining 11 points for his team and getting the fans revved up by hitting a three-pointer. Wagner kept a steady pace in the game bringing in six points. And Fuller kept the columns moving by throwing in two points to the game.
Leaving no stone unturned, junior guard Sam Slater was brought in towards the end of the match to showcase his nonstop zealous energy. Slater got the job done and the crowd going as he logged two points for the books. “Our Bulldogs finish 2019 out with a BANG,” exclaimed Coach Joshua Brown. “I’m very proud of them and the effort they played with during the tournament. Our best defensive effort of the year against an athletic, scrappy Vian team! We absolutely got after it and were LOCKED IN! To the Mansfield Basketball Program and School District, thank you for putting on a first-class tournament and for your hospitality. Congrats to Payton Brown for being named tournament MVP, and to Jacob Avila, Gada Wagner, and Isaac Villarreal for being named to the All-Tournament Team!”
Waldron moves to 12-3 on the season and undefeated 2-0 in conference play. The Bulldogs will be back at the WAC on Jan. 3, to take on the Cossatot Eagles with Jr High starting this off at 4 p.m.