Lady Bulldogs battle Thorndale

Posted 2/18/20

The North Zulch Lady Bulldogs finished fourth in district after a season-finale loss in Iola Feb. 11 and took on Thorndale in the Bi-District round of the postseason Tuesday.

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Lady Bulldogs battle Thorndale

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The North Zulch Lady Bulldogs finished fourth in district after a season-finale loss in Iola Feb. 11 and took on Thorndale in the Bi-District round of the postseason Tuesday.

“It was a back-and-forth game and we were actually on the free throw line with seven seconds left in a tie game,” said head coach Michael Stenseth on the overtime loss in Iola. “We did not play 90 seconds of overtime before losing four players (to fouls). We were playing inexperienced from there. We could defend, but we just could not score.”

The Lady Bulldogs dropped the overtime contest by a score of 61-56. The loss secured the team’s fourth place finish and a matchup with Thorndale, who won their district.

A win over Iola would have meant a one-game playoff matchup between North Zulch and Normangee with third place in district on the line.

“The atmosphere, the noise, the pressure to make a play, that is exactly what you are fixing to experience in the playoffs,” said Stenseth. “From that standpoint, I thought we were resilient.”

The Lady Bulldogs rallied midway through the third quarter to retake the lead in the fourth. After another back-and-forth quarter, they regained the lead with just 25 seconds left before inadvertently sending Iola to the line for another tie.

Katelyn Crocker and Katie Douga led the team in scoring with 14 points apiece and were followed by Lakin Madden and Madison Murphy with 12 each. Samantha Moore also added five to the total. All five of the team’s leading scorers fouled out early in overtime.

Thorndale won the 2A Region IV District 25 championship and battled North Zulch Tuesday with a trip to the Area playoffs on the line. Team personnel attended a tournament in Thorndale in December to prepare for the possibility of a postseason matchup.

“They are not the typical Thorndale team,” said Stenseth on Monday before the matchup. “They have some size, but are not real fast. They do have a 5’7 senior point guard, and there are certain things we are going to have to do very well in order to prevent her from dictating the tempo and taking over.”

The winner of the North Zulch and Thorndale matchup will advance to the Area round to meet either La Pryor or Harper.

“We are going to have the keep the tempo a little higher than what (Thorndale) wants,” said Stenseth. “If we can do that, it will enhance our chances. But we need to make sure we handle their pressure without giving them too many chances for offensive rebounds, which can be difficult since they are bigger than us.”

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