Bull­dogs lose by point in fi­nal sec­onds to Watts

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

WATTS, Okla. — The De­catur Bull­dogs made a strong show­ing Dec. 18 when they trav­eled to Watts, Okla., to square off against the En­gi­neers in the sec­ond of a se­ries of two pre-sea­son basketball con­tests. The Bull­dogs, ahead by as much as 15 points for most of the game, lost to the En­gi­neers by a sin­gle point in the fi­nal sec­onds.

The Bull­dogs and En­gi­neers last met at Peter­son Gym in De­catur Nov. 13. In that game, Watts found it­self down by a sin­gle point with only eight sec­onds left to play in the con­test. Watts had pos­ses­sion of the ball as the clock closed in on the zero-sec­ond mark. With half a sec­ond left, a Watts player launched the pos­si­ble win­ning shot from in­side the left wing. The ball hit the back­board and rim at the same time re­sult­ing in a stuck ball, which cost the En­gi­neers the game.

In a very sim­i­lar sce­nario, the Bull­dogs found them­selves be­hind by one with less than three sec­onds left.

De­catur hit the first points of the con­test at the seven-minute mark in the first quar­ter. The Bull­dogs jumped out in front by 13 by the end of the first half.

De­catur con­tin­ued to dom­i­nate Watts through­out the third, go­ing into the fourth quar­ter, hold­ing onto an 11-point lead with six min­utes left in the con­test. But the En­gi­neers mounted a run that even­tu­ally put them into the lead for the first time with less than 30 sec­onds left. The Bull­dogs came back on top once again, but the En­gi­neers an­swered and re­gained a three-point lead. Jimmy Men­doza put up a bucket with less than 10 sec­onds to pull the Bull­dog to within one.

Men­doza was fouled at the line, send­ing him to the free-throw line for the sin­gle point that would tie the game. Two full time­outs (one by De­catur, one by Watts) gave Men­doza time to think about his shot. Men­doza launched the ball, which bounced off the rim and was re­bounded by the hands of a wait­ing En­gi­neer. Time ran out be­fore De­catur could re­gain pos­ses­sion of the ball. The Watts En­gi­neers took the sec­ond con­test, 53-52, over the De­catur Bull­dogs.

Lead­ing the scoring ef­fort for the Bull­dogs was Ta­fari James with 16, fol­lowed by Ryan Ross with 14 and Kevin Gar­cia with eight. Oth­ers con­tribut­ing points to the game were Cay­den Bing­ham and Jimmy Men­doza, each with four, and Jose Rubi and Bryson Funk, each with three (both hit­ting a three-pointer).

West­side Ea­gle Ob­server/MIKE ECK­ELS

Kevin Gar­cia (De­catur 25) strips the ball away from an En­gi­neer shooter dur­ing the Watts-De­catur basketball con­test held in Watts,Okla., on Dec. 18. TheBull­dogs lost by one.

West­side Ea­gle Ob­server/MIKE ECK­ELS

De­catur’s Cay­den Bing­ham knocks the ball away from an En­gi­neer shooter dur­ing the sec­ond quar­ter of the Watts-De­catur non-con­fer­ence basketball matchup Dec. 18 in the gym at Watts, Okla.

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