Bulldogs defeat Warriors 57-54 in 3A playoff opener

The matchup between Virgin Valley High School and Western High School was all it was touted as the Bulldogs held on down the stretch to whip the Warriors 57-54 in the Dawg House. Bulldog Hogan Fowles hit 10 of 12 free throw attempts in the fourth period to hold off the Warriors frantic rally which erased an 11 point Bulldog lead late in the game. Fowles finished with 24 points followed by Andrew Memmott with 17 points. Bulldog center Reid Jensen had a huge game on the boards plus blocking four shots. Jensen had 11 rebounds followed by Jayden Perkins with 10.

The Bulldogs and Warriors tied 13-13 after one quarter of play. Twelve of the Bulldogs 13 points came on the three-ball. Fowles hit two, Memmott and Devin Cox had one each. The Bulldogs pulled ahead of the street ball playing Warriors in the second period, taking a 27-19 lead late in the half. The Dawgs were helped with 7-8 from the line. Memmott had 10 points at the half followed by 9 points from Fowles. Memmott had the last five points in the period beating the buzzer for two points. The first half ended with Dawgs up 29-21.

The Bulldogs increased their lead late in the third period to 42-29 but the aggressive Warriors scored the last five points to cut the Dawgs lead to 42-34 after three periods. Fowles picked up his fourth foul a minute into the last period. Coach Sean FitzSimons pulled him out of the game immediately.” I have a tendency to be overly aggressive at times,” said Fowles after the game. “I tried to draw the fouls but I pushed it.” Fowles removal seemed to increase the motivation of the Warriors cutting the Dawgs lead to 44-41 with less than four minutes remaining. Fowles returned to the action and scored immediately on a circus shot that seemed to take the heart out of the Warriors offense. Fowles free throws kept the Warriors at bay until Western went to the three-ball, hitting three straight in the last minute to cut the score to 57-44. The Bulldogs hit 22 out of 34 free throw attempts for the game. Fowles went 16 0f 20 attempts to lead the Dawgs. “I’m proud of the kid’s, they were resilient every time the Warriors rallied,” said Coach FitzSimons. We didn’t have an offense down the stretch but our kid’s would not give up. Reid (Jensen) had a good game. We told him to be nasty under the boards and he responded.”

The Dawgs will now travel to Sunrise Mountain to face top seed Cheyenne High School on Thursday night. It will be an uphill battle but the Dawgs have been there before.

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