Bulldog coach Sean FitzSimons told his boys they needed to hold the Cowboys to under 60 points to have any chance of defeating Chaparral High School Friday night, Jan. 6 in the Dawg House. He was half right as the Dawgs tied the game in regulation 57-57 with 18 seconds remaining but couldn’t finish as Cowboy Jonathon Tendale had 8 points in overtime to lead the Cowboys to a 71-66 win.
Tendale finished with 24 points and Bulldogs Andrew Memmott and Hogan Fowles topped the Bulldogs with 23 and 20 points respectively. “This is a tough venue to play in; Virgin Valley always makes it a game at home for visiting teams,” said Cowboy coach Steven Bentz. “They are a well-disciplined team and I’m glad to get out of here with a win. We’re in a good spot in league play”
The Bulldogs could not get their offense going early as the Cowboys led 14-12 after one period. Fowles had two three balls to keep the Dawgs close. The second period was all Cowboys as they held the Dawgs to 8 points to take a 30-20 into the break. The Cowboys 16-8 run quieted the large home town crowd.
The Bulldogs leading scorer Memmott came to life in the third period with 7 straight points to cut a Cowboy 12 point advantage to 37-39 late in the period. Cowboy Sam Porras hit a late three to keep the Dawgs on top 45-39. Memmott had 13 points in the period to keep the Dawgs close.
Fowles and Memmott traded baskets to get the Dawgs to 54-53 with less than two minutes remaining. The Dawgs still trailed 57-55 with less than 30 seconds remaining in regulation play. Coach FitzSimons called timeout, gathered his team and told Memmott, “split their defense in the key and hit Cox (Devin) underneath for a layup.” The play worked as Cox made the shot to the delight of the Bulldogs fans.
Fowles gave the Dawgs their first lead since early in the game, hitting two free throws for a 59-58 lead. A huge turnover by the Dawgs set up a Tendale three ball to give the Cowboys a 65-61 advantage. Memmott hit a two plus a three ball to cut the Cowboys lead to 69-66. The Dawgs fouled and the Cowboys missed two free throws but held the Dawgs with their rebounding advantage. The Dawgs allowed two more free throws to make the final score 71-66.
The Bulldogs gave the Cowboys fits but could not overcome a slow start and handle the Cowboys rebounding. “We didn’t stick to our game plan and attack the rim,” said coach FitzSimons. “Twenty points in a half will not get it done. We came out with more energy to begin the half and attacked the rim. Our transition game failed as the Cowboys forced the ball up court for easy baskets. I’m proud of the boys for battling back and not panicking. Now we’ve got to get back to work and play Bulldog basketball the rest of the way.”
The Bulldogs travel to Tech on Jan. 9 and return to face Moapa Valley on Jan.20 for their next league matches.