Bull­dogs drop two, elim­i­nated in sec­ond round

Westside Eagle-Observer - - SPORTS - MIKE ECKELS meck­[email protected]

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.

West­side Ea­gle Ob­server/MIKE ECKELS

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.

West­side Ea­gle Ob­server/MIKE ECKELS

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.

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