Starting the stretch drive for the playoffs, the Lovell Bulldogs put together two strong performances over the weekend, clobbering a game Riverside team at home Friday night, 68-50, then crushing Class 3A Worland in Worland Saturday evening, 76-45.
Coach Brian May said it all starts with defense, and the Bulldogs did a good job against big Riverside center Brynnt Wood early in the game, holding him to one basket and 3 points in the first half.
“We talked about having to help with Wood, whether Cody (Savage) is fronting him or playing behind him,” May said. “We wanted to bump him up higher so he didn’t get deep, deep position – not allow him to get to a spot.
“What helped us was that the guards did a good job with ball pressure and getting hands on balls. That eliminated opportunities for them to get easy looks inside to Wood.”
Lovell jumped on top 6-2 early as Ryan Clark powered home a follow shot and Colin May drained a three-pointer. Savage went strong for two, May nailed another trey on an in-bound play and Dylan Hultgren hit May for two in transition as Lovell led 13-5. A late three-pointer by Collin McArthur put Lovell up 16-7 at the quarter break.
The two teams traded baskets in a 13-13 second quarter as junior guard Clint Getzfreid heated up for the Rebels with three baskets and May and Hultren scored 5 and 4 points, respectively, for the Bulldogs. Lovell led 29-20 at halftime.
Wood got his game going in the third quarter, scoring 8 points, but Cody Savage scored 8 points for Lovell, May 7, as the Bulldogs outscored the visitors 20-12 to lead 49-32 after three. Lovell won the fourth quarter 19-18, hitting 10 of 15 foul shots in the final period.
“Overall, it was a real good game both offensively and defensively,” Coach May said. “In the first half we were getting the looks we wanted but weren’t finishing all of them. We started finishing in the second half.”
May said Colin May did a good job disrupting the Rebels defensively with his quickness and tenacity. May finished with eight steals in the game.
“In the second half we tried to get the ball inside more,” May added. “I felt Cody did a good job, even though at the end of the third and into the fourth they started to double team him. They would bring somebody at him from the weak side, and Cody did a good job facing the basket and passing to the weak-side post or the weak-side wing that would flash to the basket.”
Colin May finished with 22 points, Savage 18 points, five steals and four assists. Steven Pickett added 7 points, Clark 6 and Hultgren 6 points, six assists, three steals and no turnovers. As a team, the Bulldogs finished with 21 steals, 19 assists and just nine turnovers.
The box score:
Clint Getzfreid 7 4-5 18, James Anderson 0 0-0 0, Jordan Herman 1 0-0 2, Mike Miller 2 0-0 4, Bryce Johnson 2 3-5 7, Tyler Williamson 0 2-2 2, Brynnt Wood 8 1-2 17, Ric DeNiz 0 0-4 0. Totals 20 10-18 50.
Colin May 7 4-4 22, Collin McArthur 1 0-0 3, Hunter Hinckley 1 0-2 2, McKayan May 1 0-2 2, Morgan Baxendale 1 0-0 2, Dylan Hultgren 2 2-4 6, Ryan Clark 2 2-5 6, Cody Savage 7 3-5 18, Steven Pickett 2 3-4 7. Totals 24 14-26 68.
Riverside 7 13 12 18 – 50
Lovell 16 13 20 19 – 68
Three-point field goals – C. May 4, McArthur 1, Savage 1. Fouled out – Herman. Total fouls – Riverside 18, Lovell 19.
The Bulldogs traveled to Washakie County Saturday to take on the Worland Warriors.
As in the previous game, strong defense allowed the Bulldogs to pull away from the Warriors (1-18).
“I liked our full-court pressure. We really created a lot of turnovers, which resulted in a lot of easy baskets for us,” May said. “Our team defense, as a whole, was exceptional.
“Our kids, whether in a man or a zone, really created a lot of ball pressure, making it difficult for them to pass to spots and we challenged their shooters. We did give up some three-point shots, which we need to clean up.”
Savage and Colin May scored 7 points each as the Bulldogs built a 20-6 lead after the first quarter. May added 9, Clark 7 and Savage 6 as Lovell outscored the Warriors 22-9 in the second period to lead 42-15 at halftime.
Worland edged the Bulldogs 17-16 in the third quarter, but Lovell had the edge in the fourth, 18-13, to win by 31 points, 76-45.
“Our bigs did a good job on the boards,” May said. “One of the things we challenged Morgan (Baxendale) with this year was to lead the team in rebounding, and he did in this game (9 boards). He and Ryan (Clark) did a good job attacking the basket.”
Colin May did a good job shooting and distributing the ball, the coach said, adding that Hunter Hinckley, McKayan May and McArthur brought a lot of energy to the court.
Colin May finished with 26 points on 10-of-18 shooting and had five assists and no turnovers. Savage added 19 points and seven rebounds, Clark 13 points and six boards. Baxendale and Hinckley had 6 points each.
The box score:
Colin May 10 2-4 26, Collin McArthur 0 2-5 2, Hunter Hinckley 2 1-2 6, McKayan May 1 0-0 2, Morgan Baxendale 3 0-0 6, DylanHultgren 1 0-1 2, Ryan Clark 3 7-10 13, Cody Savage 9 1-1 19. Totals 29 13-23 76.
K. Mull 4 3-5 12, C. Armstrong 1 0-0 3, J. Rohrer 5 1-3 13, B. Swing 2 0-0 6, E. Worrall 0 0-0 0, S. Mortimer 0 2-2 2, T. Schriber 0 1-2 1, N. Barrus 2 0-3 4, R. Schmeltzer 0 0-2 0, D. Lopez 0 0-0 0, M. Reidel 1 0-0 2, G. Rogers 1 0-1 2. Totals 16 7-18 45.
Lovell 20 22 16 18 – 76
Worland 6 9 17 13 – 45
Three-point field goals – C. May 4, Hinckley 1; Swing 2, Rohrer 2, Armstrong 1, Mull 1. Fouled out – M. May; Swing. Total fouls – Lovell 19, Worland 20.
The Bulldogs will host the Rocky Mountain Grizzlies for Senior Night tonight (Thursday) at 7 p.m., then travel to Thermopolis for the regular-season and conference finale, also a 7 p.m. tip-off.
Rocky game the Bulldogs all they wanted during their previous matchup on Jan. 26 in Cowley, and May said the Bulldogs need to come ready to play.
“We got a good picture of what they like to do offensively and need to make some adjustments to eliminate the three-point shots they were making,” May said. “The biggest thing for us is to stay out of foul trouble.
“Defensively, they played us in a man. I think we can take advantage of some of our players’ abilities in the half-court set and take advantage of the home court and our crowd. We have to be able to get great minutes from our bench in the areas of rebounding, defense and scoring.”
As for Thermopolis, the Bobcats have been much improved, of late, and though they are just 2-19 on the season, they won at Shoshoni Saturday and lost to Rocky Mountain by just two points the previous weekend.
By David Peck