DOUGLAS - On Friday night, the Bulldog boys faced a highly ranked Douglas team. At the time of play, Wheatland came into the game with a 7-6 overall and 1-1 conference record. In contrast, the Bearcats were 8-3 on the season with an undefeated conference record, 2-0.
While the Bearcats were the first to score, the Bulldogs were very careful about running plays and waiting for clean shots. By the end of the first quarter, the score was surprisingly low on both sides, with Douglas on top by three, 9-6.
A full-court press applied by the Bearcats proved to be tough and the Bulldogs struggled at times to get the ball across the timeline. WHS also had difficulty maintaining ball control and found themselves trailing by 12 points midway through the second quarter, 20-8. The Bulldogs had only scored two points, and key player, senior Lee Raser was already playing with three personal fouls.
Though the Wheatland boys played strong, it seemed the Bearcats had the magic touch from the field and continued to score unanswered.
Partway through the second period, freshman Jacob Miller came off cold from the bench and played very well, with assists and scoring right out of the chute. Coach Mick Cochran had his boys playing very deliberately, and both teams executed long pass-arounds. The half-time scoreboard displayed a 12-point margin in favor of the Bearcats, 26-14.
Within the first 10 seconds of the second half, the Bearcats scored a big three. Several minutes of play were executed and the Bulldogs continued to be plagued by a closed hoop. Finally, senior Bryce Stenson scored on a drive layup, followed quickly by another important layup from Miller. The Bulldogs were still trailing by 16 at this point, but some energy was up. Freshman Tate Nichols hit a giant three at the third quarter buzzer, but Douglas still had the upper hand, 38-21.
The fourth quarter commenced, and Douglas was lighting up the three-point zone and were going hard in the paint. Not far into the fourth, the score had sailed to 46-23 in favor of Douglas.
Jacob Hyche found himself at the free-throw line, and was good for both, however, Douglas was not letting up and an “Alley-Oop” sent the crowd into orbit. The Bearcats quickly followed this big play with another bucket, and it seemed that they were running away with the game. Hyche was able to score to answer the Douglas streak, but it was a case of too-little-too-late, and the Bearcats won, 53-31. Leading the Bulldogs in scoring was Senior Brock Peasley with 10, Hyche with six, Miler with four, Nichols with three, and Goertz, Raser, and Stenson contributed two apiece.
Saturday found the Bulldogs fired up and ready to dominate as Newcastle met the ‘Dawgs on home turf.
You’d never know the Bulldogs were coming off a loss, as they took control of the ‘Dogies immediately and never looked back. The first quarter concluded with the Bulldogs leading by 20 points.
Excellent play execution and intense defense rattled the visiting ‘Dogies. While the point spread was wide the entire game, both teams played as if they were within one point in every quarter.
Leading the Bulldogs in scoring was Brock Peasley with 14 points and six rebounds, Nichols with 11 (shooting 3-3 from the three-point line), Goertz added eight points and seven rebounds, Hyche contributed eight points and three rebounds, Stenson was good for eight, Mickelsen added six, Lee Raser added five and Nolan Schaffner put in three.