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Bulldogs soar past Eagles to remain unbeaten

By Brady Keane BCC Contributor

Entering into last Tuesday's matchup with the Pleasanton Eagles, the Bulldogs varsity basketball squad was coming off a come from behind victory over powerhouse Medina Valley. After bouncing back from a slow start, the Bulldogs went on to pick up a dominating 62-39 victory over the Eagles, and became the first team from Bandera in over 10 years to open off a season at 3-0.
"It feels great to get such a great start," junior guard Ty Neff said. "We want to turn things around for the program. Coming into the year our expectations have been high and although we're getting a lot of wins we still have room to progress even more by the time district comes around."
Despite the hot start to the season, the Bulldogs struggled early in the first quarter for the second straight week. The Eagle's full court pressure caused several turnovers early, but the Bulldogs started to build some momentum towards the end of the period and trailed 13-8 going into the second.
"We didn't come out ready to play," junior Noah Nelson said. "We weren't hitting easy shots and we had way too many turnovers."
After the first possession of the second quarter, the game was broken open by junior Averie Mansfield. Mansfield started to catch fire quickly, and went on to score a career high 31 points on the night.
"I couldn't have done it without the rest of my teammates," Mansfield said. "We all worked hard in practice all week long and it paid off with a win."
Not only did Mansfield lead the Bulldogs in scoring, but his 12 rebounds combined with the nine rebounds of junior Corey Jennings helped Bandera pick up several extra possessions and shots throughout the game.
"Winning the rebound battle gave us a huge advantage as it stopped the momentum they had built early in the game," Jennings said. "We kept them from getting extra shots, and gave ourselves an opportunity to fight back and come on top with a victory."
Senior three point specialist Milam Boyle made his first appearance on the varsity squad for the Bulldogs this season, and played good defense down the stretch to help the Bulldogs finish off the Eagles.
"I was so nervous," Boyle said. "But it was wonderful and I really enjoyed it."
The Bulldogs were led by Mansfield with 31 points and 12 rebounds while Neff added a spark in the second quarter and finished with 17 points and six rebounds. Seniors Reed Blake and Jonathan Raitz had four points each, while senior Ish MacNeil and junior Noah Nelson each added two points in the victory. Defensively, the Bulldogs were led by Raitz and senior Caleb Beauchamp who each picked up three steals.
"So far we haven't allowed more than 39 points in a game, and that allows us to compete on nights that our offense isn't clicking," Raitz said. "Our defensive intensity has certainly contributed to the overall success of our team."
The Bulldogs traveled to Jourdanton on Tuesday (with results to follow next week), and will look to remain undefeated as they head to the Hondo tournament taking place today through Saturday.