Hoping to enter Christmas break with an unblemished record, the Dove Creek Bulldogs girls basketball team nearly slipped.
Like good teams often do however, the Bulldogs found a way to win, riding a strong fourth-quarter performance to a gutsy 40-38 victory over Grand County on Dec. 19.
Throughout the game’s first quarter, Dove Creek appeared flustered by Grand County’s swarming defense, and by the end of the first quarter, the score was tied at 15.
Although the Bulldogs would briefly find their rhythm during the second quarter, they were unable to pull away, entering halftime with a 25-23 lead.
“They are a pretty scrappy defensive team,” said Bulldogs’ head coach Jim Buffington of Grand County. “We were having trouble getting shots off, and when we did, they were pretty much contested.”
Continually unable to find openings, the Bulldogs were held to five points during a tough third quarter and entered the fourth trailing 34-30.
At that point, Dove Creek’s seniors stepped up however and, after gaining the lead, overcame poor free-throw shooting down the stretch to squeak out the victory.
“We escaped that one,” said Buffington. “We made seven out of 20 free throws. When you shoot poor free throws like that, that’s going to give the other team the ball.”
Even with the off free-throw shooting however, Buffington could not help but be pleased with his team’s effort.
“We were able to clamp down at the end,” said Buffington. “One third of the way through our season, we’ve accomplished what we wanted to.”
The accomplishment to which Buffington was undoubtedly referring was his team’s perfect 6-0 record, which will remain intact until following the Christmas break.
“Things get tougher now,” said Buffington, discussing upcoming league matchups in January.