Close losses hurt Bulldogs

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The Quitman Bulldogs are ready to get back to the friendly confines of Delbert Ballard Memorial Gym after a tough week on the road. After a game at Paul Pewitt Tuesday, the Bulldogs will get to play in their own gym this weekend hosting a 12-team tournament.

The Bulldogs traveled to Hughes Springs last Tuesday to take on a veteran Mustang team which returned four starters from last year and added a move-in player who scored 19 points against them. The Bulldogs were down 52-49 with eight seconds and a chance to tie the game, but a tipped ball out of bounds gave the Mustangs possesion. A pair of free throws made it a 54-49 loss for Quitman.

Freshman forward Kalen Wilkerson put in 15 points to lead the Bulldogs. Garrett Peek added 12 with Jace Reid and Josh Medlin adding seven each and Luke Pruden and Aiden Steward four a piece.

The Bulldogs headed west Thursday to the annual Lipan tournament hosted by the defending Class A state champion and perennial powerhouse Indians. The Bulldogs took on North Crowley JV in the first game, falling 38-36. “They had several juniors on their JV and overall, they were actually older than we are. We played really good on defense, but we just could not get our offense working like we want it to,” Head Coach Jim Reid said.

Quitman was down 20-14 at the half and 26-20 going into the final quarter where the Bulldogs would outscore the Eagles 16-12 coming up just short. The Bulldogs were led by Peek’s 12 points followed by Pruden with seven, Medlin six, Steward three and four players with two each.

Quitman followed that with losses to Keene and Central Heights. “In neither game did we ever do anything offensively. We just got beat in every phase of the game in those two,” Reid noted.

The Bulldog offense showed some spark against Fort Worth Southwest Christian before falling 56-49. Reid had 19 for Quitman with Peek adding 13, Medlin seven, Trey Berry five, Pruden four, A.J. Dunn and Steward three each and Wilkerson at two.

In their final game at Lipan, the Bulldogs fell behind Paradise 20-16 at intermission and were down 34-29 going into the final eight minutes before losing 41-37. Reid had 14 for Quitman, with Wilkerson getting eight, Berry and Medlin four a piece, Steward three, and Peek and Pruden two each. Peek received a $100 scholarship from Lipan for his play throughout the tournament.

The Bulldogs will host 11 teams in this weekend’s Delbert Ballard Tournament. There will be pool play Thursday, before moving to bracket play Friday and Saturday. The tournament will be held at Ballard Gym and the high school gym.

Quitman opens at 11 a.m. Thursday in the high school gym and will close out the evening with a 7 p.m. game against Bells at Ballard Gym. The championship game will be Saturday at Ballard Gym.

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