By Sam Conner
The Winslow Bulldog basketball team earned second place in the Scorpion Invitational Tournament held last week at Sedona.
The Bulldogs split their two pool play games on Thursday. The first game was a 62-40 loss to a good Snowflake Lobo squad and the second was a narrow 47-45 win over the Copper Canyon Aztecs.
In Snowflake’s 62-40 win, the Lobos started very strong and held a 21-9 lead over Winslow after the first quarter of play. The margin was 32-19 at the half and 37-29 after three quarters. The Lobos pulled away in the final period to coast to victory.
Rick Shumway led all scorers with 14 points for Snowflake. Gunner Caldwell added 11 for the Lobos.
Stevin Nelson led the Bulldogs with nine points.
In the second game the Bulldogs managed a 47-45 win over Copper Canyon. Winslow led 16-15 after the first quarter, but trailed 29-26 at the half. The Aztecs still led the close game 39-37 after three quarters. The Bulldogs outscored the Aztecs 10-6 in the final period to escape with the victory and second place in pool play.
The Bulldogs won both of their games on Friday, an easy 94-31 victory over the host Sedona Red Rock Scorpions and a 71-47 win over the Copper Canyon Aztecs, whom they had edged 47-45 in pool play the day before.
In the win over Sedona, Winslow had a commanding 27-5 lead after the first quarter and a 49-15 advantage at the half. The margin was a tremendous 80-21 after three quarters. Akkeem Foster led all scorers with 18 points for the Bulldogs. Nelson was also in double figures for Winslow with 14 points. All 14 Bulldogs scored. Triston Decker led Sedona with 14 points.
In their 71-47 win over the Copper Canyon Aztecs, Winslow led 16-9 after the first quarter, but trailed 29-25 at the half. A torrid third quarter put the Bulldogs ahead 50-37 and an equally good fourth quarter sealed the 71-47 win. Keenan Keams led all scorers with 18 points for the Bulldogs. Jachai Cox led Copper Canyon with 15 points.
The Bulldogs played three games on Saturday, losing to the Blue Ridge Yellowjackets 60-54 in the first game early that afternoon. They defeated the Snowflake Lobos 76-65 that afternoon to earn a berth in the championship game against Blue Ridge again that night, where the Yellowjackets defeated the tired Bulldogs 67-42 to win the championship.
In the 60-54 loss to Blue Ridge, the Yellowjackets led 17-10 after the first quarter and 34-22 at the half. The margin was 47-35 after three quarters. Blue Ridge was led by Tristen Penrod and McKay Berges with 15 points each. Keams paced Winslow with 13 points. Milland Thomas added 11 points for Winslow, and Nelson and Frank Kelly each scored 9 for the Bulldogs.
In the second game Saturday afternoon the Bulldogs avenged their loss to Snowflake on Thursday by defeating the Lobos 76-65. Snowflake led 23-20 after the first quarter, but the Bulldogs enjoyed a fine second quarter to take a 42-31 halftime lead. The margin was 72-50 after three quarters of play. Nelson led all scorers with 19 points for Winslow. Thomas added 15 points and Kelly scored 13 for the Bulldogs. Travis Flake led Snowflake with 14 points.
In the championship game the Bulldogs lost to Blue Ridge 67-43 in what was their third game of the day. The first quarter ended in a 9-9 tie, but Blue Ridge had a 27-21 advantage at the half. The Yellowjackets had a commanding 48-30 lead after three quarters. McKay Berges led all scorers with 25 points for Blue Ridge. Keams was the only Bulldog in double figures with 10 points.
Coach Ricky Greer said that he was pleased with the way his team played in the Scorpion Invitational Tournament and the good competition they had met. He was especially pleased with how much better they had played in second games against Copper Canyon and Snowflake, but noted that they were out of gas in their third game on Saturday against Blue Ridge.
The Bulldogs were to play the Holbrook Roadrunners in Holbrook on Tuesday and will meet the Kingman Bulldogs on Thursday, Dec. 12, in the Pepsi Invitational Tournament in Flagstaff, which continues through Saturday.
By Sam Conner