On the second day of boys’ 54th district play, the Buckhorn Wildcats and the Hazard Bulldogs hit the hardwood. The Wildcats won the only regular season meeting by 12 points (47-35).
Buckhorn got the first basket, but Hazard quickly tied the score (it would be the last time the score would be tied). The Wildcats then went on to post a 10-2 lead.
Hazard would hold Buckhorn scoreless for the final 3:20 of the first period. However, the Bulldogs could not score enough points to take the lead from the Wildcats (10-8) at the horn.
The slow offensive showing continued for both teams well into the second period. Late in the period, the Wildcats picked up several baskets courtesy of the defense, and went into the locker room with the 23-15 advantage.
The Bulldogs picked up their defensive pressure in the third period, holding the Wildcats to their lowest output of the night. With eight minutes to play, Buckhorn was still in control 31-26.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Buckhorn pushed their margin back to double-digits (40-30). Despite several strong attacks by the Bulldogs, they were never able to get the deficit below seven points. Buckhorn was able to hit their free throws down the stretch, and advanced to the championship game with the 57-48 win.
Buckhorn (57) Shannon Blank 12, Austin Bennett 13, Donovan Engle 8, Austin Morris 14, Daniel Hurley 9 and Jarred Griffith 1.
Hazard (48) Ryan Smith 8, Cheikh Ndiaye 12, Chase Pennington 4, Reese Fletcher 8, Jacob Johnson 8, Logan Hall 5 and Skylar Pelfrey 3.
Tony McGuire can be reached via email at [email protected]