Bulldogs survive defensive battle
by Dennis Sharkey
The McLouth Bulldogs fell behind early but dug out and came back to beat Jackson Heights at home Friday night 41-36.
The Cobras were able to take control of the game early with hot three-point shooting.
Cobra junior Erik Bell opened the scoring with a quick three-point basket to put the Cobras up 3-0.
On the offensive end the Bulldogs had trouble finding open shots in the paint but hit some open shots to take an early 4-3 lead.
The lead was short-lived as senior Daniel Martin found his three-point stroke and put the Cobras back in front 6-4. The Cobras hit half of their six three-point baskets in the first quarter and built an 11-7 lead over the Bulldogs after one period.
Cody Dureyea opened the second quarter with a three-point basket and extended the lead to seven just 26 seconds into the quarter.
The Cobras led by as many as nine points before the Bulldogs ended the quarter on a 10-3 run including a buzzer beater by Shawn Dailey to make the score 21-19 at halftime. The Cobras turned the ball over twice in the final 19 seconds of the quarter.
Bulldog Head Coach Jason Schroeder said the buzzer beater really lifted his team.
“That was important big time for our heads,” Schroeder said. “A buzzer beater is a huge up for us but it’s also a huge downer for them.”
The Bulldogs quickly tied the game in the third quarter and took a 25-21 lead before Dureyea broke the 12-0 run with a bucket with 5:16 left in the third quarter.
Both teams continued to struggle scoring throughout the rest of the period. The Bulldogs fouled Bell with one second left in the period from three-point range. Bell missed all three foul shots and the Bulldogs maintained a 30-27 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
The Bulldogs had chances to put the Cobras on ice but failed on the offensive end. With less than four minutes left in the game the Bulldogs held a 39-34 lead but turned the ball over on four straight possessions.
With less than a minute left twice Bulldog players went to the free throw line but missed on the front end.
Jackson Heights had chances but was held scoreless for the last 3:33 of the game. The Cobras turned the ball over twice inside 19 seconds left in a one-possession game.
Schroeder said his team was able to turn around the game in the second quarter by switching up his defense to stop the open three-point shooting.
“We knew we had to guard it,” Schroeder said. “We were helping off a little bit when we shouldn’t have been helping and they found the open guy and hit the shots.
“We went a little bit smaller and faster trying to get in their head a little bit,” he added. “We were making a lot of mistakes and we tried to make them make some.”
The Bulldogs did not have anyone reach double figures but were led by Carter Gish and Kramer with eight points each.
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