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Bulldogs lose intense district game against F'burg

By Brady Keane BCC Contributor

After a month full of hype and anticipation, the Bulldogs and Battlin' Billies finally got to settle a new rivalry on the court last Friday night in one of the most exciting games this season. The gym was packed on both sides of the court, and the Bulldogs responded early to the added boost from the crowd. However after a large fourth quarter comeback, the Billies were able to pull out a 57-52 victory.
"It was incredibly emotional to play that hard and not come out on top," senior guard Jonathan Raitz said. "However it's only our third game in district and we need to bounce back strong in our next seven games."
The Bulldogs came out on fire in the first quarter behind the play of Raitz, and opened to game on a 7-1 run before Fredericksburg was able to get going offensively. The game remained close for the majority of the contest before Fredericksburg was able to pull ahead late in the fourth quarter.
"We didn't do a good job closing out on their shooters," junior post Averie Mansfield said. "They were able to hit some big shots when it mattered most."
The crucial deciding factor proved to be the foul trouble that many Bulldog stars found themselves in beginning in the third quarter. Junior guard and leading scorer Ty Neff, Raitz, Mansfield, and junior posts Noah Nelson and Corey Jennings all were in foul trouble in the second half and the fouls really hurt the Bulldogs defensive aggressiveness.
"Having so many people in foul trouble really kept us from being able to play our game," Nelson said. "We like to be physical and crash the boards, but when your big guys have four fouls, it's hard to play big inside without risking another potentially killer foul." Defensively the Bulldogs were again led by Mansfield, Jennings, and Nelson inside as all three contributed hard nosed defense and multiple blocks. Neff and Raitz were able to create some steals at the top of the key to create easy fast break layups as well.
"Sometimes defense can be your best offense, and we haven't gotten as many easy points as we want of off steals," Neff said. "We need to get more easy buckets, so we need to cause more turnovers."
On the offensive side of the court the Neff continued his impressive streak of 22 games in a row scoring over 10 points by adding 15 against Fredericksburg, while Raitz finished with 13, and Mansfield had 10 points and 8 rebounds.
The Bulldogs looked to bounce back in a critical game against Wimberley on Tuesday night, and will host the Canyon Lake Hawks tomorrow night in another must win matchup. Game time is at 7:30.
"This week is the finish of the first round of district," Neff said. "We want to be in a good spot to ensure ourselves a playoff spot and this week is the start to that."