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Bulldogs are off and running

IRONTON – The West County Bulldogs were highly touted going into Monday night’s first round of the Arcadia Valley Thanksgiving Tournament. The Bulldogs, seeded second in the eight team bracket, faced off against No. 7 Lesterville Bearcats, and for the first six minutes the difference in seeds was not visible, but from there on out, it was all West County, 72-47.

Both teams were able to establish their offense against the other team’s defense at the start of the game, matching baskets, takeaways and rebounds. Late in the first quarter West County was able to surge ahead to grab a 19-14 lead, and when the break was over, the Bulldogs played like a different team.

&#8220We settled down,” said West County coach Chad Mills when asked what made the difference. &#8220We were wild in the first quarter and began to execute in the second.”

Execute was right as the Bulldogs not only made their plays in the second quarter, they also killed off the Bearcats’ scoring on defense.

The Bulldogs were able to penetrate the Bearcats’ defense, and when it collapsed on the ball handler, the Bulldogs fed the ball outside for clean shots at the basket. At the same time, the Bearcats went cold from the floor, shoving lay-ups into the bottom of the rim and forcing shots from outside.

The Bulldogs ran off a 12-2 start of the second quarter. Lesterville’s James Chadbourne popped a three and Alfonzo Martin laid one in to make it 31-21. It would be the closest the Bearcats would come to the Bulldogs for the rest of the game. The Bulldogs scored the next seven points to put the game out of reach at half-time, 38-21.

What had been started in the second quarter continued after an elongated half-time. The Bulldogs went on a 10-5 run, converting on two fast breaks, causing Lesterville’s coach Jason St. Gemme to call time. The Bearcats responded with the next basket, but the Bulldogs answered with 13 straight points as their defense challenged each Bearcat shot and cleaned the boards.

West County pushed the ball up the floor hitting the outlet pass and resulting in several lay-ups, something the Bulldogs like to do. The Bearcats also tried to run the floor, but the results were disastrous as they could not convert against the stingy Bulldog defense, and West County was able to race the ball back for another score.

With 6:39 left in the fourth quarter, Travis Graham swished the net with a three from the left corner to give West County a 29 point lead, but the Bulldogs scoring would dry up for the next two minutes until Jordan Miller sank a free throw to start the running clock. Fifteen seconds later, Martin would hit two free throws for the Bearcats to stop the clock again.

Lesterville’s starters put on a flourish of points against the West County subs in the final minutes of play to lower the lead to 20 points, but free throws brought the lead back to the game-ending 25.

Lesterville 14 7 11 15 – 47

West County 19 19 20 14 – 72


Lesterville – Van-Asch 14, Jo. Chadbourne 7, Ja. Chadbourne 6, Miller 6, Martin 6, Peterson 5, Nash 3.

3-Pointers: Ja. Chadbourne 2, Jo. Chadbourne, Peterson.

West County – Graham 17, Mosier 16, Dane 14, Luebbers 9, Whelehon 7, Miller 6, Dowd 3.

3-Pointers: Graham 2, Mosier 2, Miller, Dowd.

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