Bulldogs drop two, eliminated in second round
DECATUR — The Decatur Bulldogs played host to the fifth annual Decatur Holiday Hoops Basketball Tournament at Peterson Gym in Decatur Nov. 26Dec. 1. In the opening round of the tournament, the Bulldogs lost to the Mulberry Yellowjackets by nine points, sending Decatur to the second round losers’ bracket where they lost to the Life Way Warriors by 19.
Eight teams from northwest Arkansas and southwest Missouri took part in this year’s event. Decatur, Mountainburg, Mulberry, Life Way Christian, Union Christian, Eureka Springs, St. Paul, and Exeter, Mo., teams provided some exciting action in this year’s boys’ tournament.
In round one, played Nov. 26, the Bulldogs squared off against the Mulberry Yellowjackets. The contest opened with both teams’ defenses preventing any scoring in the first two minutes of play. Then at the six-minute mark in the first quarter, the Bulldogs put up a twopointer, the first score of the game. But, less than 30 seconds later, the Yellowjackets launched a three-pointer from the right wing for their first points and their first lead of the game. Neither team was able to take control of the floor and the quarter ended with Mulberry up by a single point going into quarter two.
The game continued, with neither team able to hit the boards until late in the second when the Yellowjackets went on a run, scoring nine points and holding Decatur to only four, ending the half up 17-11.
The Bulldogs attempted a come back in the second half but were never able to catch the Yellowjackets. Mulberry claimed the win, 37-28, advancing to the second round winners’ bracket, while Decatur went on to the second round losers’ bracket to face the Life Way Warriors on Nov. 28.
Leading the scoring drive for the Bulldogs was Ryan Ross with 13, followed by Tafari James with six, Jose Rubi with five, Cayden Bingham and Kevin Garcia, each with two.
In the Decatur-Life Way contest, the Bulldogs took control of the first quarter, outscoring the Life Way Warriors 7-5, taking a two-point lead into the second quarter. But, this was the only time the Bulldogs held the lead in the remainder of the contest.
The rest of the game was filled with aggressive and spirited play, with the Warriors scoring 20 points in the second quarter and a total of 34 in the second half to win the contest, 59-40, eliminating the Decatur Bulldogs from the tournament.
Ryan Ross led the Bulldog scoring effort with 11. Kevin Garcia and Tafari James each had seven; Jose Rubi had four. Kelvin Moreno, Bryson Funk, and Cayden Bingham finished up the scoring for Decatur with three each.
The tournament concluded on Dec. 1 with the Eureka Springs Highlanders and the Mulberry Yellowjackets vying for the Holiday Hoops championship. The Highlanders won the championship, with the Yellowjackets taking second place.
Tafari James (Decatur 12) and a host of Warriors fight over a loose ball during the Decatur-Life Way basketball contest in Decatur Nov. 28. Life Way defeated Decatur in the second round of the Decatur Holiday Hoops basketball tournament.
Tafari James (Decatur 12) fights hard to reach a loose ball during the Decatur-Mulberry basketball contest at Peterson Gym in Decatur Nov. 26. The Yellowjackets defeated the Bulldogs in the first round of the Decatur Holiday Hoops Tournament.