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Wildcats tower over Eastside
Christain Munoz guards Chance Whitlock, also Kingston Judkins, Malachi Wilcher.jpg
Talk about size advantage. Dibrell post Chance Whitlock, who stands around 6-foot-3, towers over the Eastside defenders of Christian Munoz, Kingston Judkins and Malachi Wilcher, who are all under 5 feet tall.
Syler Simmons, Evan Tittsworth guard Ty Arnold.jpg
Dibrell played swarming defense Monday night as Syler Simmons, No. 44, and Evan Tittsworth, right, are among the Wildcats surrounding Ty Arnold of Eastside. Dibrell won the game.

At one point in Monday’s first-round game in the Morrison Ruritan Tournament, 6-foot-3 Dibrell post Chance Whitlock was being defended by 4-foot-9 Eastside guard Christian Munoz.

That was the size disadvantage Eastside faced against a big and physical Dibrell team which captured a 38-19 win.

Dibrell guard Lee-Allen Esparza was the game-high scorer with 11 points. Just as important as his scoring was his up-close-and-personal defense at the top of the key that prevented Eastside from dribbling to the basket.

Eastside post Lex Winfree was the top scorer for the Bulldogs with 8.

Dibrell scored the first 8 points and held a comfortable 20-4 lead at the half. Kaden Pendergraph started the scoring with a 3-pointer to give the Wildcats a lead they would never relinquish.

Dibrell controlled most aspects of the game, whether it was Chance Whitlock grabbing the rebound and making a putback, or Esparza forcing a turnover and taking it to the basket for a fast-break layup.

Eastside has a trio of quick guards who play with tenacity. The Bulldogs also have Winfree, who is a force inside with his size and ability to block shots.

But the Bulldogs main three guards are all under 5 feet tall so they had trouble passing over the Dibrell defense. Eastside played with determination but could never get in an offensive rhythm. The Bulldogs got in more of a flow in the second half, helped by two 3-pointers from Donnivan Johnson and two baskets in the paint from Winfree, but Eastside didn’t have the overall firepower to keep pace.

Esparza was a difference maker and he had help from a strong supporting cast.

DIBRELL – Lee-Allen Esparza 11, Syler Simmons 7, Chance Whitlock 6, Kaden Pendergraph 6, Evan Tittsworth 2, Eli Mietling 2, Sawyer Stanton 2, Jace Matheney 2

EASTSIDE – Lex Winfree 8, Donnivan Johnson 7, Christian Munoz 2, Jason Lopez 2