Bulldogs follow up regular-season title with 7-A tournament championship

 

By KEVIN DONALDSON

LIVINGSTON-The Clay County Bulldogs followed up their regular-season title in District 7-A with a win in the tournament championship game here Tuesday night, beating Clarkrange 50-41.

It was the third win of the season for the Bulldogs over the Buffaloes, and all have been close games. The two teams will each host first-round regional games this Saturday.

Clay County took the lead midway through the first period and never trailed again, building a 12-point halftime margin, and holding off Clarkrange comebacks in both the third and fourth quarters. The Bulldogs led 15-9 after one quarter, and led 26-14 at intermission, as Nolan Dale hit for 16 points in the first two periods.

The Buffaloes cut the lead to two points (26-24) by scoring the first 10 points of the third quarter, but steals and buckets by Nathan Knight and Shawn Garrett (named tourney MVP) stopped the Buffalo run and gave Clay County a bit of breathing room. Clay County led 32-24 after three periods as Tyler Edwards banked a running jumper in at the buzzer.

Free throws wound up carrying the Dawgs to the win in the fourth quarter, but not without some drama. CCHS nailed 14 foul shots in the final quarter, with Garrett getting the only two field goals of the period, but the Bulldogs also missed several free throws in the fourth. At one point, they connected on only three of seven from the foul line, allowing Clarkrange to pull to within three (40-37), but they closed the quarter by canning seven of eight foul shots to ice the win. The win improved the Dawgs’ record to 24-6.

Jackson County easily rolled by Monterey in the boys’ consolation game by a 67-39 score. The Blue Devils led by 10 after one, eight at intermission, and exploded to a 30-point lead after three quarters, outscoring the Wildcats 26-4 in the third.