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2015-01-29

Bulldogs battle past rival hounds

By Brady Keane BCC Contributor

The atmosphere in Boerne last Friday night was that of a classic Bandera vs. Boerne matchup, and in front of a packed house, the players certainly didn't disappoint. After struggling in the first half, the Bulldogs pulled out a 52-41 victory over the Greyhounds in a thrilling, down to the wire finish.
"It was a great win," senior Ty Neff said. "It wasn't a pretty win, but we got it and it will fuel our fire for the upcoming week."
The early part of the game saw the Bulldogs struggle offensively, as the Greyhounds did everything they could to keep the ball out of the hands of Neff. Foul trouble for the Bulldogs big three of Noah Nelson, Corey Jennings, and Averie Mansfield also contributed to the early struggles, as the Bulldogs couldn't seem to get into a rhythm offensively.
"It's going to be very important, as we lead the district in rebounding," Jennings said. "Foul trouble takes us out of the game, and eliminates our second chance shots on offense while also losing a large presence on the defensive end as well."
Although the offense had trouble getting going, the Bulldog defense was certainly the opposite. Nelson, Jennings, and Mansfield were a force to be reckoned with inside, and all three were able to grab several rebounds while forcing the Greyhounds to shoot from outside of the paint. After holding Boerne to just five first quarter points, the Bulldogs held Boerne to just 16 first half points.
Following the first half struggles, the Bulldogs implemented some halftime adjustments that revamped the offensive strategy to account for the full court pressure that Neff had on him for the entire game. The Bulldog guards began to move the ball around, and through the strong play of Mansfield on the inside, the Bulldogs began to come alive offensively.
"We really stepped up on the boards and started knocking down some shots," junior JT Milner said. "We never put our heads down, and stuck to the game plan all the way to the end."
After pulling away from Boerne through the third and early fourth quarter, the Bulldogs allowed the Greyhounds back into the game when Nelson and Jennings fouled out late in the game. However, clutch three point shots from Mansfield, Brady Keane, and Nick Salas sealed the deal for the Bulldogs, and gave the team their first victory over Boerne in more than three years.
"We started being more patient offensively," Mansfield said. "When we settled down and worked the ball inside, both our inside and outside game began to open up.
The Bulldogs were led offensively by Mansfield who racked up 15 points in the win, while Neff added 13. Other scorers for the Bulldogs included Keane with seven, Salas with six, Jennings and Nelson with four, and Utah Hicks with two.
Bandera will continue their quest for the District Championship in the coming weeks with what should be another exciting game against the Fredericksburg Billies at home on Tuesday Jan. 27. Should the Bulldogs come out on top, the Friday Jan. 30 matchup between Devine and Bandera will be one of the most important games to date, as both teams will be looking to close out the first round of district play with an undefeated record. Both games are set to tip off at 7:30.
"This week is very important as we close out the first round of district with two of our tougher opponents," Neff said. "If we can get the wins in these games, we will be in control of going into the second round of district play."