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Bulldogs complete comeback, win title
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Things looked bleak for the Eastside Bulldogs in the final minute of the Morrison Ruritan boys championship game.
Tyler Beaty and Cito Garcia rescued the Bulldogs though. Beaty had four points and Garcia hit the game-winning shot as Eastside rallied to beat the Irving College Tigers 47-45 and claim the preseason seventh- and eighth-grade tournament title.
The Bulldogs didn’t look like they could pull off the comeback with Beaty getting checked out on the bench following an inadvertent elbow with two minutes to go.
Beaty gutted out the final 47 seconds and promptly stole the show. With the Bulldogs trailing 45-41, Beaty slashed the lead to one when he scored on a layup while being fouled with 22 seconds to play.
Beaty sank the free throw, making it 45-44 in favor of the Tigers. Before Irving College could even try to add to its lead, the ball went back to Eastside.
Tiger point guard Robbie Selig was called for an offensive foul while the team tried to inbound the ball and Eastside took over possession.
When the Bulldogs brought the ball inbounds to Garcia, the speedy shooting guard had only one thing in mind.
Garcia drove into the paint and lofted a shot which bounced off the backboard and touched every part of the rim before rolling in.
Garcia sprinted upcourt with his arm outstretched as his shot gave Eastside its first lead of the fourth quarter at 46-45.
Irving College had two shots to try to win the game, but Beaty was there to stop both opportunities.
On the Tigers first try, Beaty partially blocked a shot and the ball went out of bounds. When Irving College got the ball back in play, Tyler Morton’s shot was a touch strong and Beaty claimed the rebound and was immediately fouled with 4.7 seconds to play.
It was the Tigers’ seventh foul, which meant Beaty went to the other end to shoot a one-and-one. Beaty connected on the first free throw, then both teams called time-outs to strategize.
Beaty missed the second free throw and Irving College called a quick time-out to try to devise one last play.
A quick inbounds, followed by a full-court pass, didn’t succeed as the clock ran out on the Tigers and Eastside earned early bragging rights in the Warren County elementary league.
Eastside looked like it was going to cruise to victory when the team dominated the first 10 minutes of action. Behind 11 points from Beaty and four points each from Garcia and Hunter Hawkins, the Bulldogs built a double-digit lead midway through the first half.
Irving College didn’t seem to wake up until the final two minutes of the second quarter, but in the final 120 seconds the Tigers went from trailing by 12 to being behind 25-23 at halftime.
Selig was the straw that stirred the drink for the Tigers during a 10-0 run. Selig scored four points and dished out two assists as the Tigers took all the momentum into halftime.
The Tigers’ twin towers inside kept the team in the game in the second half. Tyler Morton and Logan Martin each scored eight points as Irving College started to take control by dominating the glass and scoring easy putbacks.
It wasn’t until Beaty came back in the game with 47 seconds to play that Eastside was able to turn the tide and escape Morrison Elementary gym with the tournament championship.
Beaty scored 15 points to lead all scorers. Hawkins added 11 points for the Bulldogs. Garcia scored eight, followed by Alex Yates with six, Raleigh Woods with four and Kade Burnett with three.
Morton led the Tigers with 14 points. Selig was next with 11, followed by Martin with 10. Austin Turner scored all six of his points in the first half while Dustin Hale only scored four while battling foul trouble.
Following the game, an all-tournament team was announced.
The list was headlined by six players from the championship game. Beaty, Hawkins and Yates were each selected from Eastside while Hale, Martin and Morton were honored from Irving College. Rounding out the team was, Christian Wilkinson and Trey Cantrell from Dibrell, Samuel Pack and McCall Turner from Centertown, Hunter Hall from Morrison and Noah Kuykendall from Boyd.