Bulldogs grab big victory over undefeated Billies
By Brady Keane BCC Contributor
The Bandera Bulldogs continued an impressive season last week in a big time win against the Fredericksburg Billies. The Bulldogs became the first team in District 27-3A to knock off the Billies on Tuesday night, and the momentum carried over into a close victory over the Wimberley Texans on Saturday afternoon that secured a third place finish in the district for Bandera.
"It felt great to get that win over Fredericksburg," junior guard and leading scorer Ty Neff said. "We feel as though we could have been district champs, but we just didn't finish games earlier in the season so that win definitely gave us an uplift."
The game started off in favor of the Billies, as Fredericksburg senior Austin Rodriquez was unconscious from behind the three point line. The Bulldogs fell behind early and trailed by as much as 10 in the first quarter, but never allowed themselves to fall out of reach.
"After having leads in so many games this year and losing them late in the fourth quarter, we knew it was going to take more than just one bad quarter by us for them to beat us," senior Jonathan Raitz said.
The powerful Bulldog offense caught fire in the second quarter as Bandera gained momentum behind the play of Neff and junior post Averie Mansfield. The Bulldogs were able to pull ahead by one at halftime.
"The second quarter helped us build the momentum we needed to pull out a victory in the second half," Mansfield said. "We came together as a team, and got the result we were looking for."
The second half saw the team overcome a recurring struggle to finish games against the district's top teams, as junior Noah Nelson, Mansfield, and Corey Jennings, dominated the Billie posts in the rebounding category down the stretch.
"Out rebounding Fredericksburg was crucial in our victory," Jennings said. "They jumped out to an early lead and gained lots of momentum in the first quarter, but by controlling the boards we were able to weather the storm and go on the offensive, capitalizing on put backs and allowing them to only one shot."
The Bulldogs received valuable time and effort from Jennings, junior Allen Clark, senior Ishmael Macneil, and senior Jonathan Stoufflet. Jennings and MacNeil handled the posts of Fredericksburg offensively and defensively while Stoufflet and Clark handled ball handling and played tight defense on the Fredericksburg guards.
Bandera was led in scoring by Neff with 19 points and Mansfield with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Juniors Noah Nelson added nine points and seven rebounds, and Jennings had six points and grabbed five rebounds. Raitz and senior Marshall Beightol combined for four points and multiple rebounds down the stretch.
Riding the wave of momentum built in the win against the previously undefeated Billies put the Bulldogs in a good position against the Wimberley Texans on last Friday. Although the team came out slighty sluggish, Neff tied his career high of 37 points to help the Bulldogs outlast a hungry Texan team on senior night in Wimberley.
The Bulldogs clinched a playoff berth for the first time since 2009 a few weeks ago against the Navarro Panthers, and Bandera will take on the La Vernia Bears this upcoming Monday at the Alamo Convocation Center with game time set tentatively for 7 PM.
"It not only means a lot to the team and myself, but it means a lot to the school and the community," Neff said. "Finally, after being so close to the playoffs last year, we were able to come together and make it in this season. Although we made it in the playoffs, we are certainly not going to settle for just getting in."