Sometimes there are just too many weapons. The Lovell Bulldogs got a fight from the Rocky Mountain Grizzlies in their 2A Northwest showdown Thursday night in Lovell, but Colin May and Cody Savage combined for 41 points as the Bulldogs pulled away for a 61-36 win.
Thursday’s game was different than the Jan. 26 game in Cowley when the Grizzlies battled the Bulldogs tooth and nail for more than three quarters before a surge propelled the Bulldogs to victory. Once again, the Grizz had a solid game plan, but this time the shots didn’t fall and the Grizzlies didn’t get to the foul line – at least in the first half – and fell be
hind early, coach Michael Simmons said.
The Grizz came out cold, and while they got to the basket, they had a difficult time finishing. The Bulldogs, conversely, came out strong on Senior Night and quickly took a 10-2 lead as May hit a jumper, Morgan Baxendale converted a follow hook shot, Collin McArthur went inside for two and Savage scored two buckets on a spin move and a put-back. The only Rocky basket came from Kirby Winland on the fast break. Lovell went on to lead 12-4 at the quarter break.
“We were getting to the rim, and if a couple of shots fall early, it gives us a little more energy, which is contagious,” Rocky coach Michael Simmons said. “Then we settled for a couple of perimeter shots. We tried to change our game plan a little bit.
“It was a physical game, so inside you get bumped around a little bit. If you shoot free throws and baskets fall, you continue to attack a little stronger. We didn’t shoot a free throw until the third quarter.”
The second quarter saw the two teams battle back and forth as Rocky hung with the home team and even cut the deficit to six points – 19-13 — on a Michael Bernhisel three-pointer. The Grizzlies chipped away, but Lovell hit some big shots – a trey by Dylan Hultgren that put the Bulldogs up by 10 and then consecutive baskets down the stretch by Savage (a running hook), May and Savage again, this time from beyond the arc.
Lovell led 32-17 at intermission.
“I really felt we controlled this game from the beginning,” Lovell coach Brian May said. “It started at the defensive end of the floor, both in the half court and in the full court. Each kid, I thought, played some really good defense.
“We felt going into this game that they would have problems handling both Cody and Colin. We felt offensively we were getting good looks both from the perimeter and inside; we were just not making everything. But we were scoring enough and getting enough stops to get a good lead.”
The Grizzlies got back to their game plan in the third quarter, Simmons said, and resumed attacking the rim and this time got to the free-throw line – 18 times in the second half. But by the time the Grizz got going, they had a monumental hill to climb.
Lovell started the third with a 10-2 run as Colin May and Savage had 4 points each. Bryce Ward scored on a reverse layup for the Grizz. Rocky closed the quarter with a 12-3 run sparked by a pair of treys by Ward. Lovell led 45-31 after three.
The Bulldogs gradually built the lead to 27 points, 59-32, in the fourth, then went on to a 61-36 win.
“We competed,” Simmons said. “The effort was there, for sure. There were times when we went away from our game plan…You can’t abandon ship and g
o in a different direction. We don’t have the tools to do that.
“If we continue to attack, eventually we’re going to get a call and start making shots.”
Colin May had a strong overall game for the Bulldogs, finishing with 21 points, seven steals, six rebounds and five assists. Savage added 20 points and 11 rebounds, Hultgren 5 points and three assists, Morgan Baxendale 5 points and eight rebounds. McKayan May had 4 points and eight rebounds. Collin McArthur finished with seven rebounds, Hunter Hinckley six.
For the Grizz, Ward finished with 10 points and five rebounds, Simmons and Bernhisel 7 points each, Winland 6 points, seven rebounds and four blocked shots. Joey Jewell grabbed five rebounds.
Lovell won the junior varsity game 56-32, building a 42-29 lead after three quarters, then putting the game away with a 14-3 fourth-quarter advantage.
Brandon Wolvington scored 16 points to lead the Bulldogs, Mysen McArthur 12, Jacob Adey 10, Chase Tippetts 6, Austin Ellis and Seth Kite 4 apiece, Cade Bischoff 2 and Calin McArthur and Morgan May 1 each.
For the Grizz, Bill Despain scored 12 points, Xavier Mangus and Tanner Coleman 6 each, Cannon Simmons 5, Joey Jewell 2 and Jordan Arnold 1.
The varsity box score:
Xavier Mangus 0 0-2 0, Michael Bernhisel 2 2-3 7, Shane Wocicki 0 1-2 1, Joey Jewell 1 1-4 3, Bill Despain 0 0-0 0, Kirby Winland 3 0-0 6, Derik Romero 1 0-0 2, Cannon Simmons 2 3-4 7, Bryce Ward 4 0-3 10. Totals 13 7-18 36.
Colin May 7 6-11 21, Collin McArthur 1 0-0 2, Hunter Hinckley 0 0-0 0, McKayan May 2 0-2 4, Morgan Baxendale 2 1-2 5, Dylan Hultgren 2 0-2 5, Ryan Clark 1 0-0 2, Cody Savage 8 3-4 20, Steven Pickett 0 0-0 0, Calin McArthur 1 0-1 2. Totals 24 10-22 61.
Rocky 4 13 14 5 – 36
Lovell 12 20 13 16 – 61
Three-point field goals – Ward 2, Bernhisel 1; C. May 1, Hultgren 1, Savage 1. Fouled out – none. Total fouls – Rocky 15, Lovell 16.
By David Peck