On Wednesday, the Hazard Bulldogs hosted the Cordia Lions in the second round of the All “A” region tournament. Few in the crowd could remember the last time the Bulldogs lost to the Lions, and many were looking for Hazard to move on in the tournament.
The opening minutes saw the score go back and forth. However, Hazard would go cold midway through the period. Cordia was able to take advantage of the situation and began to pull away. The period ended with the Lions holding the 15-9 lead.
Cordia hit the first basket of the second period, giving them the 18-9 lead. That would be the last points of the period for the Lions. Hazard went on a run that netted them the lead with 2:45 remaining in the half. Both teams would milk the clock looking for a good shot in the remaining minutes. The Bulldogs would go into the locker room with the 24-18 advantage.
Hazard took a page out of the Cordia book in the third period, scoring the opening basket and then going cold. The Bulldog lull allowed Cordia to put together a rally. The Lions tied the game at 26 with 2:44 on the clock.
The two teams traded baskets over the next several minutes, playing to a 32-all tie with three seconds on the clock. Hazard missed a free throw, and Cordia pulled the rebound. The Lions connected on the outlet pass and hit a “3” at the buzzer, sending them to the final period with the 35-32 lead.
Cordia used the fourth quarter to extend their lead to near double digits. However, just before this could be done, Hazard managed to pick up a basket. The double-digit lead finally occurred at the 2:13 mark as the score hit 52-42.
The Bulldogs continued to fight down the stretch, and eventually got back in the game. The Lions’ inability to connect from the free throw line allowed Hazard to get to within a single basket with :40 to go. The Bulldogs were not able to convert their opportunity, and had to put the Lions back on the line. This time they were able to complete the pair at the hands of 8th grader Austin Combs.
The Bulldogs had a final shot to tie the game as they had the ball with 15 seconds remaining, and trailed 53-50. They failed to get the shot they were looking for, and Cordia raced to the other end, picking up a late basket to seal the deal. The Lions eliminated the Bulldogs by the final score of 57-52.