In the final day of the boys 5-6 grade elementary season last Thursday, the Dibrell Wildcats cost the Eastside Bulldogs a chance at the No. 3 seed with a 52-42 win. On Tuesday, the Wildcats ended Eastside’s season.
Dibrell won 46-40 Tuesday night in the opening round of the elementary tournament, eliminating Eastside in the process.
Tuesday’s lone matchup in the boys tournament featured teams with two very different strengths. Dibrell had the edge in the paint, led by posts Lane Jones and Austin Newby, while Eastside got most of its scoring this year from guards Dillon Young and Axel Rodriguez.
Dibrell’s ability to control the paint, especially early, proved to be the difference.
The Wildcats took an early lead Tuesday as Newby was unstoppable in the first quarter. Newby outscored the entire Eastside team in the opening six minutes, getting three baskets at point-blank range. Newby’s six points helped Dibrell lead 13-4 after the first quarter.
Coach Mike Mullins kept sending in waves of post players at Eastside in the second quarter. After Newby and Jones each scored early in the period, Matthew Vandergriff and Tucker Cantrell had one basket apiece as the Wildcat subs helped Dibrell take a 22-12 lead at halftime.
Newby and Jones each scored four points in the third quarter to put the Wildcats well in front of the Bulldogs, but Logan Young heated up to keep Eastside in contention.
The third guard for the Bulldogs scores six points in the third period to bring Eastside within 12 entering the fourth quarter.
Rodriguez finally found the range in his home gym in the final period, but it was too late for an Eastside comeback. Rodriguez’s seven points in the fourth quarter didn’t dent the Dibrell lead as Jacob Lann put the game away with a 3-pointer.
Newby led the Wildcats to victory with a team-high 14 points. Jones added 11, followed by Lann with seven and Darren Duke with four. Vandagriff, Cantrell, Will Wrisner, Jacob Wrisner and Micah Webster scored two points apiece.
Logan Young had a season-high 17 points in the loss for Eastside. Dillon Young was next with 10, while Rodriguez scored seven. Andrew Fults added four and Zach Bennett chipped in two.
With the win, Dibrell advances to the semifinals where it will face the Morrison Eagles. The Wildcats and Eagles will play tonight at 5:15 p.m. All tournament games will be played at Eastside Elementary School gym. The tournament finals are set for 1:45 p.m. tomorrow. A third-place game will be played at 11:15 a.m.