Bulldogs pick up BDC road win
CWC hits big free throws late, down Foxes 48-41

MCLEANSBORO – Things weren't going well for the Carmi-White County Bulldogs this week heading into their Friday night game at Hamilton County.

They had dropped a heart-breaking decision to Eldorado at home on Tuesday night and then they were throttled at home on Thursday night by Fairfield, which completely spoiled their “Senior Night.”

To make matters even worse, they came out flat in the first quarter against the Foxes as they trailed early on, 11-3.

But quality teams are like the Marines. They adapt, they overcome, they improvise.

In other words; they figure out a way to get the job done.

Coach Kevin Wolff's Bulldogs “hunkered down” and made the plays in the final three quarters of their 48-41 Black Diamond Conference East Division road win at Jerry Sloan Gymnasium.

On this night, CWC got to reverse its role as they spoiled the Hamilton County “Senior Night” as they improved to 17-10 on the season.

The Bulldogs leaned on 6-foot-3 senior forward Travis Black and this vet delivered the with 21-points to lead all scorers.

Six-foot-one senior guard Dylan Courty added 14-points in the low scoring, defense dominated match up.

“We struggled last night and we struggled early tonight but our five seniors did a great job,” said Coach Wolff. “We did a good job tonight and this is a tough place for us to play. Every time we come over here it's a good ballgame. And it was again tonight. I'm proud of the way the kids responded after struggling early.”

Hamilton County mentor Jeremy Varner saw his club battle foul difficulties on this night that resulted in a free throw shooting parade by the visitors.

The Bulldogs cashed in a game clinching 14-of-18 in the fourth quarter.

The Foxes were led in scoring by 6-foot-2 junior Randy Schaefer with 13-points while 6-foot senior Jake Whipple tossed in nine.

Hamilton County got eight-points each from senior Matt Rubenacker and junior Hunter Braden.

“It was a tough, physical game. We don't have anyone who has the combination of strength and quickness to guard someone like Black,” said Coach Varner. “We did a pretty good job on him in the second half. Robbie Morgan came off the bench and did a good job on him. But Courty had a real nice game for them. He stepped up and hit some big shots (two 3's) and we wanted to take Lamp and Northcott away from them. And Courty beats us, he beats us.”

Braden and Schaefer got the Foxes going early with Braden scoring twice on drives down the right baseline and Schaefer putting in a second chance bucket for an early 6-0 lead.

After a Courty 3-pointer, Schaefer drilled home a 3-pointer of his own and added an in the lane back shot to force Coach Wolff to burn a timeout at 11-3 with 2:29 left in the opening stanza.

Black scored his first two baskets in the game on inside moves to cut into the Foxes' advantage.

Hamilton County showed good patience on offense for most of the night, exemplified by their final possession of the first.

The Foxes burned 1:22 off of the clock and got the look that they wanted; an 18-footer from the left corner by Whipple.

The shot found the mark as Hamilton County led 13-7 at the end of the first quarter.

The Bulldogs put together a rally and took the lead at intermission.

Black again proved his versatility as this senior forward stepped out of the paint to nail two 3-pointers while also getting loose inside for a pair of scores.

His 10-points in the frame helped the Bulldogs to a 20-18 halftime lead.

“I think he (Black) is one of the better 2A players in the South. We lean on him a lot. Dylan Courty hit a big three for us in the corner and Bryce (Northcott) knocked down some free throws for us,” said Coach Wolff. “All in all it was a really good game.”

Defensively CWC forced four Hamilton County turnovers in the quarter which led to a 13-5 run.

Courty helped the Bulldogs pad their lead in the third quarter.

He netted seven-points in the quarter with a tip in rebound basket, a nice drive in the lane, going to his left hand for a lay in along with a 3-pointer from the left corner.

Bryce Northcott was held without a field goal on the night but the 5-foot-10 guard did other things well to contribute to the victory.

He hit four free throws in the third quarter Bulldog push to the lead, including a pair with :03.2 left for a 31-25 advantage heading into the final countdown.

“We talked at halftime about getting some 'hustle plays'. We need to get to some loose balls, and get our hands on some passes,” said Coach Wolff. “Our kids did that in the second half. We played our style of basketball.”

One of the key plays in the third quarter was Whipple picking up his fourth foul as he had to go to the bench with 2:06 left and the Foxes trailing 26-23.

“We had three of our starters in foul trouble in the second quarter and we had to go to our bench. Whipple is a big factor for us and he gets his fourth foul in the third quarter,” said Coach Varner. “I thought if I take him out now (with three fouls) with him on the bench they (CWC) might pull away from us.”

Carmi-White County got the separation they needed to begin the fourth quarter with Black and senior Justin Lamp hitting 3-of-4 free throws.

Then Black again knocked down a 3-pointer, this one from just right of the top of the arc, giving the Bulldogs a 37-25 spread.

Six-foot-two freshman Robbie Morgan came off of the bench for the Foxes and he hit a shot in the paint.

Whipple then drove into the lane for a score while being fouled.

His made charity was followed up by a Braden score on a pass from senior Matt Rubenacker, which came about because of a CWC turnover.

The Foxes trailed just 38-32 with 1:43 left.

However Carmi-White County did what good teams do; they finished the job by connecting on 8-of-10 free throws in the final 1:27.

Sophomore Ethan Mahon, Courty, Northcott and Black all hit free throws in the run.

Black closed the book with two final free throws with :04.8 to give the Bulldogs a 5-3 record in league play.

“We really made our free throws down the stretch so we were able to sustain that lead,” said Coach Wolff.

Coach Wolff's club survived 13 turnovers by coming up big at the foul line and also shooting the ball well when they have the chances.

“When a team hits that many free throws in the fourth quarter, it is hard to make up that difference,” said Coach Varner.

CWC finished 11-of-22 overall from the field, 5-of-10 from the arc.

They held a slight 17-16 rebounding edge and they forced eight of the nine Foxes' turnovers in the middle two quarters to get the lead.

Hamilton County saw its record slip to 9-18 on the season against a pretty brutal slate of games in both the BDC and non-league action.

Coach Varner saw his squad finish 16-of-39 overall and 3-of-9 from 3-point range.

They couldn't get to the foul line enough times (5-of-6) on the night to help offset the 21-of-28 overall that the Bulldogs mustered up.

Both teams have work to do before they head into Fairfield 2A Regional, which starts on February 19.

The Bulldogs hit the road for games at Lawrenceville on Tuesday and the they close out the regular season with a trip to Fairfield to face the Mules again.

Hamilton County gets right back into action with a road game at Waltonville on Saturday night and then they close their regular season schedule with a trip to Johnston City on Friday, February 16.

The Foxes open the postseason with a game against Fairfield on Monday night at 6 pm.

“We are making progress here. Our kids are playing hard. We are playing better defensively and with more effort. They haven't quit on me. They have stuck together,” said Coach Varner. “I'm proud of them.”

Carmi-White County
Hamilton County
Carmi-White County (48) – Lamp 1 0 2-2 4, Courty 1 2 6-8 14, Yates 0 0 1-2 1, Northcott 0 0 5-6 5, Black 4 3 4-6 21, Mahon 0 0 3-4 3, Craig 0 0 0-0 0, Phelps 0 0 0-0 0, Reeder 0 0 0-0 0, Saunders 0 0 0-0 0. 2FG-6, 3FG-5, FT-21-28, PF-12.
Hamilton County (28)
– Whipple 4 0 1-1 9, Schaefer 2 3 0-0 13, Rubenacker 2 0 4-4 8, Braden 4 0 0-0 8, VanAbbema 0 0 0-0 0, Morgan 1 0 1-3 3, Webb 0 0 0-0 0, Gray 0 0 0-0 0.
2FG-13, 3FG-3, PF-6-8, PF-22.

Fouled Out
– None.
Technical Fouls
– None.