by Michael Patrick
Lady Dogs steal victory from West Hardin
On Friday night, the Lady Dogs and the Lady Oilers of West Hardin squared off in Evadale's gym for the right to go to the play-offs. This was a much anticipated rubber match between these two rivals and it did not disappoint. Both teams seemed to have some butterflies early on in the game, which is somewhat expected in a game with this kind of magnitude. Win and your season continues or lose and your season is over.
West Hardin struck first with a lay-up to start the scoring. Colmesneil though came right back and answered that first basket with a 6-0 run to take an early 6-2 lead. But West Hardin would not be overwhelmed and fought back to tie the game at 10-10 at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter went much the same as the first with the teams trading baskets and leads. However, late in the second West Hardin stole some momentum going into halftime by going from the Lady Dogs being up 17-16 to the Lady Oilers taking a 20-17 lead. "At halftime we made some defensive adjustments and I told the girls this is it. Sixteen minutes will decide their season's fate. They could either run and hide or go toe to toe and let the best team win," Coach Sluga said.
At the beginning of the third quarter, the Lady Dogs came out fighting and closed the West Hardin lead to one, 22-21. But then the Lady Oilers threw a haymaker that had the Lady Dogs wobbling and on the verge of going down for the count when West Hardin went on an 8-0 run and took a 30-21 lead. Coach Sluga called his first time-out of the game to get the Lady Dogs regrouped and refocused. The Lady Dogs responded by going on a 4-0 run to close the gap to 30-25 heading into the final frame.
Still woozy from the haymaker West Hardin threw, the Lady Dogs however stood toe to toe and refused to go down. Colmesneil kept chipping away at West Hardin's lead and took a 35-34 lead with less than two minutes left in the game. The last two minutes seemed to last an eternity for everyone rooting for Colmesneil. But Magen Allen came up with a huge basket to extend the Lady Dogs lead to 37-34. Then the Lady Dogs shut the door when Treasure Jackson got a steal and went the length of the court for a lay-up to put the Lady Dogs up 39-34 and back into the play-offs for the second consecutive year.
"I am so proud of this group of girls. Tonight they played with hearts of champions. They could have so easily checked out in the third quarter, but they didn't. They did what they had to do to pull this one out. And now we're going back to the play-offs," Coach Patrick Sluga added.
Taylor Barker had a huge night with 26 points to lead the Lady Dogs. Also, chipping in were Jackson with four points, Allen with four, and Krista Harris with five. This is the first time the Lady Dogs basketball team has made back to back play-off appearances since the 1996-97 and 1997-98 seasons.
Bulldogs stay in hunt for play-off spot with win over Sabine Pass
On Tuesday, the Bulldogs traveled to Sabine Pass to take on the Sharks in a pivotal district match-up with play-off implications on the line. With a win the Bulldogs would inch closer to making the play-offs or if they suffered a defeat their play-off dreams would take a severe hit. The game started off with both teams trading baskets for much of the first quarter as well as trading the lead. However, led by Matt Bailey's six points in the first period the Bulldogs held a slim 14-12 lead.
Sabine Pass came out strong in the second quarter and stormed out to a 21-16 lead. But the Bulldogs clamped down on defense and continued their hot play on the offensive end with Tyler Walker leading the team with nine points and Colmesneil took a 33-26 lead into halftime.
The Dogs felt great coming out of halftime. Sabine Pass tried to claw their way back into the game, but the Bulldogs had an answer for every run the Sharks made. Cole Lowery stepped up in the third quarter and muscled in eight points to help the Bulldogs stretch their lead to 48-38.
The fourth quarter turned out to be much of the same as the Bulldogs imposed their will on the Sharks. Bailey led the team with seven points in the quarter and Kolton Bass put the nail in the Sharks coffin with a key three-pointer. When the buzzer sounded to end the game the Bulldogs were triumphant with a 66-48 victory and still very much alive in the play-off race. "It is always nice to sweep Sabine Pass," Coach Clint Stephens said.
Bailey led the team with 18 points, Lowery chipped in 14, Walker had 13, Bass had nine, Hayden Langston had four, and Tayler Walker had one to round out the scoring.