Bulldogs scrape by Llano 69-63
By Brady Keane BCC Contributor
The Bandera Bulldogs varsity basketball team improved their win streak to three games on Friday December 20 in a win against the Llano Yellow Jackets by a score of 69-63, and have now won five out of the last six games.
"Getting a win right going into the Christmas Break definitely gives us some momentum entering the Fredericksburg tournament and moving forward into the district season," junior Averie Mansfield said.
The game was started off close and remained a tight matchup throughout all four quarters, as both teams were hot from behind the three point line. Ty Neff led the way for the Bulldogs as he was able to hit several key shots throughout the game, and finished with a career high 36 points.
"We ran the offense really well," Neff said. "Everyone set good screens on and away from the ball, so I was able to pop open throughout the game."
Neff's shooting kept the Bulldogs in the game, as he matched the Llano shooters shot for shot to help maintain the lead for Bandera. Despite getting the win, the team knows that they cannot allow other teams to get so many open shots.
"We really need to work on closing out on opposing shooters," Mansfield said. "They just got too many open looks from behind the three point line."
Offensively, senior guards Jonathan Raitz and Marshall Beightol did a great job feeding the ball around as each recorded several assists on the night. Jumping into a starting role, Beightol had a strong game finishing with nine points and seven rebounds as the second leading scorer for the Bulldogs.
Although Llano shot lights out from behind the three point line, Mansfield, Jennings, and junior Noah Nelson continued to control the rebounds for the Bulldogs and didn't let the Yellow Jackets get very many second chance points.
"They shot the ball extremely well," Jennings said. "However, we worked hard to grab every rebound, and kept them from getting more than one chance at scoring."
The deciding factor in the Bulldogs win came from the outstanding defense Jennings brought to the court late in the fourth quarter, as he was able to grab three steals to shut down the Llano comeback attempt.
"Corey's hustle and tough defense gave us the spark we needed to pull away in the final quarter," Head Coach Robert Shearhart said.
The Bandera leaders were Neff with 36 points and eight rebounds, Mansfield and Beightol with nine points and 6 rebounds each, Jonathan Raitz and Nelson with seven points each, and Jennings and Nelson with 6 rebounds each.
The Bulldogs improved to 9-6 with the win over Llano, and will next travel to the Fredericksburg tournament from December 26-28. Bandera will then play in Devine on January 2, in TMI on January 3, Ingram on January 7, and finally begin the district season on January 10 at home against Boerne.