Months ago, Eastside ended Dibrell’s 34-game winning streak in the 7-8 grade league, signaling a changing of the guard. On Monday, the Bulldogs officially made sure the Dibrell dynasty wouldn’t continue.
Eastside eliminated Dibrell in the opening round, winning 35-22. It was the first time the Wildcats had tasted postseason defeat in three years.
Kade Hillis and Jaythan Boyd provided the final 1-2 punch to the Wildcats, scoring 16 and 14 points, respectively, to lead the Bulldogs. The duo with complementary styles took turns dismantling Dibrell, ruining any chance of a Cinderella run.
Dibrell entered the game as the tournament’s No. 5 seed, but no county program is more experienced at winning tournament games at Charlie Dalton Gym. The Wildcats had hoped to rekindle the magic, but a slow start spelled doom.
Eastside ran out to an 8-0 lead in the first quarter, holding Dibrell off the board the opening six minutes. Hillis hit an early 3-pointer to spark the Bulldogs, helping the team lead wire-to-wire in the first game of the tournament.
Boyd showed off his bounce in the second quarter, cruising in for layups as the Wildcats couldn’t contain the explosive leaper. Boyd had several moments where he looked like he had a pogo stick in the paint, leaping high over everybody for putbacks and rebounds.
Hunter Knight contributed to the Eastside cause with five points, including a 3-pointer in the third quarter. The triple helped the Bulldogs lead 28-11 going into the fourth.
Hillis added his third triple in the final period, a final blow to Dibrell’s comeback attempts.
Dibrell got a team-high 11 points from Garrison Randolph, followed by Hunter Basham with eight points, Zackary Mullican with two and Vincent Flores with one.
Eastside now gets to play the role as potential spoiler in the county tournament. The Bulldogs will clash with No. 1 seed Manchester Westwood Thursday at 5:45 p.m.