The Eastside Bulldogs took the fight right to the WCMS Pioneers for two quarters on Tuesday evening. What happened in the second half was a defensive meltdown for Eastside and WCMS pulled away and defeated the Bulldogs, 52-33.
Eli Kuykendall for WCMS started the game off slow and was not a factor in the first quarter. He proceeded to score a game-high 17 points to lead all scorers.
The difference in the game was the second half by WCMS. The Pioneers held a slender 24-19 lead at the half. WCMS cranked up its offense and started to fire on all cylinders. The Pioneers outscored the Bulldogs 19-7 in the third period and extended its lead to 17 with only a quarter to play.
Kuykendall was quick off the blocks after a miss and he added eight of his 17 points off transition baskets after his teammates secured the rebound. He received help from Chance Hunter who also exploded to the basket and dropped in 10 points.
The pressure on the ball in the second half was turned way up and the Bulldogs struggled to make things happen after the break. Darren Earls tried to find the basket despite having a defender in his face on numerous occasions. He scored five points in the third and he was helped by Caden Beaty with two points.
Entering the fourth quarter, Eastside trailed 43-26 and the close halftime score was a distant memory. A 17-point deficit would have been tough for any team to overcome. Eastside continued to push the ball up the floor but the Bulldogs were plagued by bad decisions and turnovers. Jackson Thompson shot 1-of-2 from the free-throw line and Levi Jones made it into the scorebook when he knocked down a short jumper.
It was all WCMS in the second half and Eastside did not have the answers it needed. The Pioneers were dominant in the second half and recovered from their dismal start in the first quarter. Hudson O’Connor helped WCMS hold on down the stretch and the Pioneers defeated the Bulldogs by a final score of 52-33.
PIONEER SCORING – Eli Kuykendall 17, Layne Roberts 14, Chance Hunter 10, Hudson O’Connor 6, Keldrick Cox 3, Raleigh Gilliam 2
BULLDOG SCORING – Darren Earls 16, Evan Watts 5, Christian Rogers 4, Treyton Terry 3, Caden Beaty 2, Levi Jones 2, Jackson Thompson 1