The Hitchcock Bulldogs suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Kountze Lions in the Region III-3A quarterfinals at Dayton High School on Tuesday, 74-72, despite John Scott and Earnest Triplett’s combined 50 points.
The atmosphere at Dayton High School was electric, the bleachers were rocking, and the fans were cheering.
“It was a great game, it was exactly what we wanted,” said Hitchcock’s head coach Chris Jordan. “If I could play a game like this every day, I would. I just liked being in the atmosphere; it’s loud and it’s rowdy.”
The Lions started the fourth quarter on a 10-1 run, which put the Lions up by six points with five minutes left in the game. The Bulldogs came back to take a one-point lead on a basket by Scott. The Bulldogs lead didn’t last long as the Lions’ Jordan Boer came through in the clutch with the Lions’ last five points of the game.
“I don’t think we were tired physically,” said Jordan about the start of the fourth quarter. “It was a mental thing, we have to be able to push through bad calls.”
Kountze and Hitchcock both believed there were numerous bad calls throughout the game.
The Bulldogs had plenty of chances to win but the game but poor free throw shooting in the fourth quarter cost the Bulldogs dearly. The Bulldogs missed nine free throws in the fourth quarter.
The first half was all about the Bulldogs, but one can’t win the game in the first half.
The Bulldogs had a five-point lead heading into halftime behind their dynamic duo of Triplett and Scott, who had a combined 31 points at the half.
“I’ve had these guys since they were freshmen,” said Jordan. “It’s hard to see them go out like this with John and Trip (Triplett). I’m definitely going to miss those guys.”
The Bulldogs were breaking down the press of the Lions using Scott like they would on the football field, tossing it up and letting him go get it. Once the Lions shot the ball, Triplett broke the other way for an easy layup or dunk.
The Bulldogs were led by Triplett who finished with 31 points and 10 rebounds, while Scott added 19 points and 12 rebounds.
The Lions had four players in double figures, but were led by Jaylon Wilson, who had 16 points and fouled out in the fourth quarter. Jeremiah Barker was their next highest scorer with 14 points. JaQuade Warren and Boer finished with 12 and 10 respectively.
Kountze will face Grandview in the Region III-3A semifinals at Waco Midway High School.