PARK HILLS — The West County Bulldogs earned their way into the Central Christmas Tournament’s semi-finals with a hot hand from the perimeter and a solid inside game as they upset the No. 1 seeded Hillsboro Hawks on Friday 76-64.
The Bulldogs had four players score in double figures as they led for nearly the entire ball game. Scoring consistently throughout the game, Kyle Coleman led all players with 25 points as he sliced though the Hawks’ defense time and time again to score within the paint.
Steven Barnett played an aggressive post position to score 14 points despite having to sit out for a portion of the third and a good amount of the fourth quarter for preservation purposes. With Barnett on the bench, the Bulldogs scoring was not diminished as Isaak Vinson poured in 10 of his 17 points over the last two frames to assist Coleman on the scoreboard.
Clayton LaBruyere, who had scored three three-pointers early in the game, was able to break loose of the Hawks’ blanketing coverage to hit a fourth three in the fourth quarter to finish with 14 points.
The Hawks started the game with a three from Jake Brooks, his first of five in the game, but he was quickly matched by one from Vinson. A conventional three by Barnett and LaBruyere’s first three put the Bulldogs up 9-3 and Hillsboro called time-out to try to focus their defense.
Hillsboro kept trying their long range shooting to keep up with the Bulldogs, but to no avail even though they scored 11 in the game. Fifteen misses by the Hawks provided the Bulldogs with extra opportunity to go on offense, and the Bulldogs made good use as they seldom left their end of the court without changing the scoreboard.
West County (8-5) moved out to a 21-10 lead with two minutes still left in the first quarter, but Hillsboro scored the next four to close out the frame. LaBruyere notched his third three to give the Bulldogs a 10-point lead again early in quarter two.
The lead extended to 15 before back to back threes by Brooks settled it back to a 39-30 half-time score. Hillsboro also had four players score in double figures
The Hawks started the third trying to find their long range shooting, but to no success as they went scoreless until Taylor Hassell finally connected with four minutes of the quarter already gone. The Bulldogs did not wait for the Hawks to center their sights and the lead increased to 18.
Both teams quieted the other’s perimeter shooting until two minutes into the fourth quarter. The Hawks scored four threes in the final minutes to close to within nine points, but solid free throws shooting by the Bulldogs kept the Hawks at bay.
West County will play in a rescheduled semi-final game on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. against Farmington.
West County 21 18 12 25 – 76
Hillsboro 14 16 7 27 – 64
West County – Kyle Coleman 25, Isaak Vinson 17, Clayton LaBruyere 14, Steven Barnett 14, Chasten Boen 6. 3-point FG – LaBruyere 4, Vinson, Boen. (FT: 17-28).
Hillsboro – Taylor Hassell 16, Jake Brooks 15, Jake Thebeau 13, Austin Weber 12, Stephen Hassell 8. 3-point FG – Brooks 5, T Hassell 3, S Hassell 2, Weber. (FT: 8-13).