JUDSONIA — Before the game was two minutes old, the Bald Knob Bulldogs put up eight points, and White County Central High School could not recover from the blistering start by the Bulldogs and were defeated 78-58.
Bald Knob sophomore guard Micah Story scored 30 points for the Bulldog. Senior forward Braden Davis recorded a double-double, scoring 16 points, pulled in 14 rebounds and blocked three shots and junior guard Michael Knight finished the game with eight points.
“Micah is just a sophomore and he is a really good player,” Bald Knob coach Madison Leach said. “We have been on him to go to the rim and not settle for jump shots and you saw what he can do when he gets to the rim, he is a great athlete.”
Bald Knob’s offense sat up in the half court set and was able to use screens against the Bears defense to allow the Bulldogs to get good opportunities to make their shot. They were able to move the ball around the perimeter with accurate passes and overload the defense and then work the basketball inside under the basket.
“We played really hard, especially in the first quarter we set a tone defensively and we guarded the ball really well,” Leach said. “We protected the rim and then we pushed it in transition and got to the rim. We didn’t settle for jump shots.”
Bald Knob’s defense was able to keep the ball in front of them and if the ball found its way under the basket the Bulldogs collapsed around the ball, making the Bears change their shots and with the high of the defense for the Bulldogs they were able to block eight shots during the game.
White County Central chipped away at the lead held by the Bulldogs, the defense played hard and with tenacity but that emotion made some of the shots dance off of the rim and the Bulldogs were able to limit the offense opportunities for the Bears.
“Even down I felt like we battled to the very end. I felt like every single guy we had pushed and we didn’t make shots when we needed one,” White County Central basketball coach Zack Kersey said. “There was not a moment that I thought that we would quit.”
Kersey liked the way his team competed against the Bulldogs. When the Bears defense finally settled down in the game, the results were better with his team. Getting the Bulldogs to commit an offensive foul or turn the ball over. He liked the grit of the Bears, they did not fold when the game was slipping out of control and out of their hands. White County Central did score 24 points in the fourth quarter and the defense collapsed into the middle and forced the Bulldogs into unforced mistakes.
“We are undersized but we are tough guys and they are dogs I like to call them because they like to get after it,” Kersey said. “They fly around and they compete despite being undersized. They are not afraid of contact, they get in there and fight and show a lot of heart.”
White County Central offense was led by sophomore guard Tucker Cunningham with 21 points and four assists and senior guard Deklan Stevens finished with 13 points.
“Stevens had an off night. We play so many games and it is bound to happen. He looks good attacking the basket,” Kersey said. “He has been playing pretty well for us he scored 22 against Pangburn. I am not worried about his performance tonight, I know that he will be there.”
Leach says things will be interesting this year in the 3A-2 conference; he believes that the conference is one of the most competitive conferences in the state.
“It is really hard to tell right now we don’t know a lot about the conference because so many teams play football teams in the conference that we had not seen,” Leach said. “It is a physical conference, it is a very good conference. Last year our conference won three games at regional, including state champ Harding Academy, and they finished fourth in our district. That tells you how tough our conference is.”