Bulldogs drop two in district

Posted 2/11/20

The North Zulch men’s basketball team dropped a pair of district games over the week to Normangee Feb. 4 by a score of 74-62 and Burton Friday on Senior Night by a score of 63-57. The losses put their playoff hopes in jeopardy as the season draws to a close.

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Bulldogs drop two in district

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The North Zulch men’s basketball team dropped a pair of district games over the week to Normangee Feb. 4 by a score of 74-62 and Burton Friday on Senior Night by a score of 63-57. The losses put their playoff hopes in jeopardy as the season draws to a close.

Before Friday’s matchup against Burton at NZHS, the Bulldogs honored seniors Stephen Harris, Erivey Medina, Blake Housley, Kaleb Douga and Carson Radde.

“These were great kids to coach, some of the most fun kids I ever had” said head coach Matt Kirschner on the seniors. “They come to practice every day to learn and work hard. You never had to remind them to give it their all and it will be a group that I miss. I was hurting for them Friday since we were not able to get them a win in their last home game, but they came in Monday in good spirits ready to get back to work.”

After a back-and-forth opening quarter Friday, Burton was able to outscore the Bulldogs 18-9 in the second and build a lead heading into the halftime break.

“In the second quarter, we got into foul trouble and started settling for threes, which we were not making,” said Kirschner. “In the third, quarter, we got back to our game plan and started attacking the basket. In the end, it came down to fouls and turnovers.”

North Zulch had a chance to cut the deficit in the final minute of the game while trailing by six after putting Burton on the free-throw line. Burton missed a pair of one-and-one attempts, but the Bulldogs failed to retain the rebound on one miss and turned it over following the rebound on the other.

Douga led the way for the Bulldogs in the loss with 15 points and was followed by Emory Broussard with 10, Medina with nine, Radde with eight and Tyler Kirschner with seven.

On Feb. 4, the Bulldogs battled neck-and-neck with first-place Normangee on the road. After a slow start in the first quarter, North Zulch outscored the Panthers by one down the stretch in the 74-62 loss.

“We got down early in the first quarter and turnovers hurt us,” said Kirschner. “But once we got past that, I thought we played real well. We just dug ourselves an early hole and never recovered from it. They kids gave me excellent effort and we executed well down the stretch. We responded well, but (Normangee) is at the top of the league for a reason.”

After being outscored 24-11 in the first eight minutes, the Bulldogs scored at least 14 points the rest of the way. This included a 21-point push in the fourth quarter in a late comeback effort.

Harris and Broussard each led the way for North Zulch with 14 points and were followed by Douga with 13, Kirschner with 10 and Medina with seven.

The Bulldogs entered Tuesday’s matchup in Iola with three games remaining on the schedule and trailing Somerville by two games in the race for the district’s final playoff spot. They will have to win at least two of their final three matchups against Iola, Somerville and Snook. A win over Somerville will be required.

If the Bulldogs win out, they will likely secure the final playoff spot without the need for a tiebreaker against Somerville, who will battle two of the district’s top two finishers to conclude their season.

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