Bulldogs take regular-season title with wins over Devils, Buffaloes

 

LIVINGSTON-The Clay County High Bulldogs nailed down the District 7-A tourney top seed with a pair of crucial wins last week, and are awaiting an opponent in the tournament semifinals here on Friday.

The Bulldogs gained an eight-day vacation from play with a win over Jackson County in Celina, and a hard-fought road win at Clarkrange last Thursday. By finishing in the top two spots in the district regular-season, the Dawgs have an automatic berth in Region 4-1A play, and they await the winner of Tuesday night’s game between Monterey and Red Boiling Springs.

 

Dawgs……………………..51

Jackson County…………32

The Bulldogs took the lead for good just before the half and rode a 15-3 third-quarter scoring bulge to avenge their only district loss, suffered at Gainesboro in January. 

Jackson County led 13-12 after a back-and-forth first quarter, and the lead see-sawed in the second period, too. The Blue Devils led 15-12 before the Dawgs scored four in a row to take a one-point lead. The Devils led 20-19 late in the half before Nolan Dale, who led all CCHS scorers with 16, hit a three-pointer to give Clay a 22-20 lead at intermission.

A trey by Tyler Edwards made it 27-20, Clay, early in the third quarter, and a Steve Dersham rebound basket and a drive by Dale put the Dawgs up by 10. Dersham also added several blocked shots in the contest. Another bucket by Edwards and a late basket by Scott Brown, who had a huge game two nights later against Clarkrange, put CCHS up 37-23 after three. 

The Bulldogs quickly stretched the lead to 17 in the fourth, and comfortably kept the lead in double-digits to salt away the win.

Nathan Knight joined Dale in double figures for the Dawgs with 12. 

DAWGS (51)-Dersham 6, Dale 16, Knight 12, Brown 6, Edwards 8, Dusty Birdwell 2, Copeland 1. 

 

Dawgs……………………..53

Clarkrange………………..46

Facing a possible coin flip for the top seed with a Buffalo win, the Dawgs clawed out a tough victory on the road to win the regular-season title outright. 

Clay County racked up their 22nd win of the year overall and ran their district record to 9-1 with another tough defensive effort, giving up basically their season average in points. 

Actually, the Bulldogs edged down below 46 points per game on defense to 45.6 ppg, according to the latest Coach T statistics. That ranks the Dawgs sixth in the state (including all classifications), the stats said after the end of the regular season. 

The Bulldogs led most of the game against the Buffaloes, but were never able to pull away.  The Buffaloes wound up tied for second with Jackson County in the district regular season at 7-3, but won the coin flip for the second seed in the tourney last Friday. 

The Bulldogs, fueled by 21 points from senior Scott Brown, who connected on five three-pointers in the game, led at the end of each quarter and fought off a fourth-quarter rally and possible game-tying shot in the closing minutes.

The Bulldogs led 13-11 after one, and 29-25 at the half. The scoring slowed to a snail’s pace in the third quarter, as the teams could manage only eight points between them. CCHS scored six of those eight to edge out to a 35-27 lead after three. 

The scoring pace picked up considerably in the final eight minutes. The Buffaloes closed to within two points and had a chance to tie the game late with a three-pointer, but the Dawgs forced a turnover and hit some free throws to put the win away. 

Dersham, in another good outing, joined Brown, whose 21 was a season high, in double figures with 10.

DAWGS (53)-Adams 3, Brown 21, Lynn 2, Knight 2, Edwards 6, Dersham 10, Dale 9.