Bulldogs end tournament play at 3-2
The Thorndale Bulldogs basketball team hosted an in-season tournament last weekend, where they ended up with a record of 3-2.
They started off with two games on Thursday. The first game was against the Lago Vista Vikings, as the Bulldogs were defeated in a close battle 49-43. The second game was a matchup with the Gateway Gators and Thorndale came out victorious, winning 60-55.
The Bulldogs had two games to play on Friday as well, the first was against the Navarro Vikings, and Thorndale clobbered them 50-38. Thorndale found themselves down early 5-4 but took the lead with a three pointer by Chance Betak (23) for a score of 7-5. The Bulldogs led at the end of the first quarter 9-7.
To start the second quarter, Thorndale had an early 5-2 run, then scored on a fast break layup by Clason Beasley (12) for a 16-11 lead. Thorndale kept up the pressure on offense with a floater by Branson McCoy (3) with a nice assist by Blake Roberts (1) for a double digit 21-11 lead. The halftime lead would be 25-13 in favor of Thorndale. A big thing for Coach Mike Williams was being able to score against Navarro’s zone defense that limited them to nine points in the first quarter.
“They were really packing it in there,” Coach Mike Williams said. “To be honest, what helped, just like anything else in basketball is we started making a few shots from the perimeter. When that happened, they had to go out and respect our guards, and then we could throw it inside to our big guys. When you play inside out basketball, it makes it tougher; and we did a better job of just moving the ball too. Whenever we go down there and shoot the first shot we see, it’s not very good offense. But when you go down there and turn the ball a few times, reverse the ball a few times, and make the defense have to move, it opens up things for us.”
The Bulldogs kept up the offense with a deep three pointer from Betak for a 28-16 lead. They also continued to dominate the fast break game with a layup by Dean Johnson (32) from an assist by Beasley to extend the lead to 39-21. The third quarter ended with the score 42-24.
Thorndale continued to expand their lead to 48-31 off of a second chance layup by Beasley. After that, the Bulldogs began to drain the clock by passing the ball around. They would end up winning the game in dominating fashion 50-38.
“Late in the game, they cut it down,” Williams said. “We were up almost 20 and they cut it to about 10 or 12. The big thing for us to be able to hold a lead like that is to get every defensive rebound. When we hold people to one shot, we are really tough. Now if we give you extra chances, that’s when we can let people creep back in the game. But as long as we get a body on people and hold people to one shot, I think we’re pretty tough.”
The second game of the day for Thorndale would be against the Lexington Eagles.
“They’re going to be run gun, up and down, so we got to make sure we keep our composure and keep it a pace that we’re comfortable with and not get out of control. That’s the big thing I think against those guys,” Williams said.
The Thorndale Bulldogs blew out the Eagles 68-47 to go undefeated on the day. They had one game to play on Saturday against a solid Rogers Golden Eagles team.
“They’re a very well rounded team,” Williams said. “I don’t think we have to do anything special, but we have to play just solid all around and match them. They’re going to be very fundamental, they shoot the ball very well, they play great defense, so we’re going to have to bring the same thing to stay in the game.”
The Bulldogs would fall the Eagles 67-55. Rogers got out ahead early and jumped out to a 16-8 lead. Thorndale tried to creep back in the game with a tree pointer by Dean Johnson (32) to make the score 18-13. The first quarter ended with Thorndale trailing 26-16.
Rogers continued to find ways to score as the Bulldog deficit grew to 34-18. The Bulldogs scored on a three pointer by Chance Betak (23) for a 37-21 game, but still had a long way to go going into halftime trailing 41-22. Thorndale tried to get a scoring run going with a three pointer by Kaden Kovar (4) to make the game 45-30. But Rogers continued to make big shots and the deficit for Thorndale increased to 52-37, which was also the score after the end of the third quarter.
Rogers gained a 65-48 lead, then Thorndale scored on a layup by Branson McCoy (3), closing the gap and making the score 67-51, But Rogers held on as they drained the clock to defeat the Bulldogs 67-55.
Up next for Thorndale will be a home game versus the Giddings Buffaloes. The game will be on Friday, Dec. 17, and tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.