Dawgs fall in region to end season at 24-5

By THOMAS P. WEAVER, HORIZON Editor

LIVINGSTON-The Clay County Bulldogs ended their season with a 24-5 record here in the semifinal round of the Region 4-A tournament last week with a heartbreaking loss to Red Boiling Springs, who they had previously beaten in a pair of regular season match-ups.

With the win they would have had advanced to the sectional round and had another chance at a state-tournament bid, but it wasn’t to be.

“It’s disappointing,” Bulldog coach Rob Edwards told the HORIZON Monday.  “They controlled the tempo and we never hit our run like we did all year–where we usually have a six, eight, or 10-point burst to take control of the game.

“It just didn’t happen.”

Senior forward Shawn Garrett, who was named District 7-A tournament most valuable player a week prior to their third game with Red Boiling Springs, led the Dawgs with 17 in the game, but it wasn’t enough to further his career into the region championship and possibly the state tournament.

The game moved along at a slow crawl in the first half, with CCHS taking a one-point margin into intermission with the score at a level the Dawgs weren’t used to seeing, 16-15.

After putting up a whopping 88 points in their opening-round win over Watertown, Clay County’s offense screeched to a halt.

“They slowed the game down and did a good job with our press as we tried to speed it up,” District 7-A coach of the year Edwards said,  “but the bottom line was we just didn’t have the intensity we always had in the previous 28 games and it got us beat.”

The third quarter displayed a bit more of what Edwards was looking for from his team with the Bulldogs matching their first-half total of 16 in the opening quarter of the second half, but RBS kept up with the pace dropping in 18 of their own to take the lead heading into the final period with the score 33-32.

Down three late in the fourth, CCHS knotted up the score at 40 when regular-season conference player of the year Trent Boles scored three of his 14 points in dramatic “and-one” fashion.

“He tied it up with a free throw after getting fouled making a shot,” Edwards said.

After the made free-throw, Red Boiling Springs controlled the ball and took a CCHS foul.

Jake Stiles knocked down both free-throw attempts in the one-and-one situation to give RBS the two-point lead with 11 seconds to play.

“We brought it to half court and called a time out with six seconds to go,” Edwards said.  “We drew up a play we run in practice all the time and had a chance, but we just couldn’t execute.”

The Dawgs post-season run came to an end as they fell by the 42-40 final score.

“You have to take the bad with the good,” Edwards said.  “We are obviously disappointed, but if you look at the season as a whole–we finished with 24 wins, won back-to-back district titles, and beat some good teams.

“It’s hard to be frustrated with that.”

Seniors Shawn Garrett, Brian Korth, Caleb Lynn, and Joe Adams played their last game here Thursday night, but Edwards was in the same situation heading into this season with Garrett being the only returning starter from the Region 4-A champion team of 2008-2009.

“We are again losing four of our five starters, but we should have a pretty good chance at being decent again with Boles coming back next year, depending on the development of some of our young players,” Edwards said.  “We had an eight-to-nine player rotation this year and those guys seeing playing time should help them as they head into the next season.”

DAWGS (40)-S. Garrett 17, T. Boles 14, C. Lynn 6, B. Korth 3.