Dogies get revenge on the Wheatland Bulldogs

By: 
Sonja Karp

Photo by Nicole McFarland/NLJ

The Douglas Bearcats were more than the Dogies could handle on Friday, but Newcastle rebounded well to get a win over Wheatland on Saturday in the Dome. Here Tate Engle took on the Bearcat defense for a shot at 2. 

Sonja Karp

NLJ Sports Editor

 

It was another up and down weekend for the Dogies which began with losing their quadrant game to the Douglas Bearcats, 27-69, on Friday. However, they rebounded to end on a high note as they sought and secured revenge against the Wheatland Bulldogs at home on Saturday with a 40-28 victory. 

“We talked about the Jekyll and Hyde personality we
have going on after our game on Saturday,” head coach Allen Von Eye began. “We go from playing really good ball to really not so good ball, or vice versa, and we need to change that.”

The Dogies played “really good ball” on Saturday as they welcomed the Bulldogs to the Dogie Dome for a rematch. Two weeks ago, Wheatland was able to get the better of the Dogies at their house by a score of 47-31, and after the beating Newcastle took the night before in Douglas, the team was chomping at the bit to get a win.

“I was very happy to see our guys respond like we did against Wheatland,” Von Eye said. “We made some adjustments for this game and decided to face guard Kade Pruit. Tate [Engle], Hayden [Overman] and Quint [Perino] did a nice job holding him to just three buckets and only 11 points on the night when he averages 25 points per game.” 

Eleven points is the least Pruit has scored all year. His previous low was a 17-point game and he’s only been held under 20 in three games so far this season. 

“It put a lot of pressure on the other guys to make plays,” Von Eye explained. “You could see in that third quarter that they were looking for Kade and he was nowhere to be found because of the pressure we were putting on him.”

The Bulldogs and Dogies play very different styles of basketball as Wheatland prefers to slow things down and be very patient on offense while Newcastle prefers to run and gun. In the first half, these conflicting tempos resulted in a low scoring slug-fest. 

The Dogies finished the
first quarter up 7-4, but then got a little impatient on offense and allowed the Bulldogs to go on an 11-6 run in the second to go into the locker room up 2, 15-13.

“They are very patient on offense and took a lot of time off the clock on almost all of their possessions,” Von Eye stated. “We did a good job on defense but we kind of shot ourselves out of the second quarter because we just never could get into an offensive flow.”

The second half was a different story. 

Von Eye’s crew has had a tendency all year to suffer from the “third quarter blues,” coming out of the half a little sluggish. They did just that two weeks ago in Wheatland which gave the Bulldogs the opportunity to pull ahead and ultimately defeat the Dogies. 

On Saturday, there was no sign of the third quarter blues as Newcastle outscored the Dawgs 10-4 to regain the lead.

“I was really happy to see us come out and play probably our best third quarter of the year,” Von Eye said. “We also did the best job I think we’ve done since the Belle Fourche game before Christmas of attacking the zone, and moving the ball well to make them have to defend the entire floor instead of just one side. Then you saw the ball start to fall. We were finally getting into a good rhythm and a good offensive flow.”

The Dogies continued to extend their lead through the fourth quarter to take the 12-point victory. Rebounding was a key element in the win as well with the Dogies limiting the Bulldogs to one shot only, and the team went 9-11 from the charity stripe with seven of those falling in the second half. 

“It’s really nice to know that when we make adjustments like we did that we were able to execute it so well,” Von Eye declared. “Across the board, I thought it was our best game efficiency wise.” 

Two Dogies finished the night in double figures with Aidan Chick leading the way with 14 and Slade Roberson close behind with 10 points. Hogan Tystad added 6 points while Overman and Perino each chipped in 5. 

The “not so good ball” scenario played out as the Dogies traveled to Douglas to take on the No. 1-ranked Bearcats for their first contest of the weekend. Douglas’ roster is deep and the squad has multiple shooters, which Von Eye admitted presents a challenge. However, he also insisted that the team isn’t 42 points better than his own.

“Douglas is a good team, but we didn’t put up that great of a fight either,” Von Eye admitted. 

“We came out a little hesitant and a little scared and turned it over way too much because of that. Against a team like that, they’re going to make you pay.”

The Dogies’ hesitancy of the first period showed on the scoreboard as Douglas got out to a commanding 21-8 lead, and despite Newcastle ramping up defense in the second quarter, they were able to extend their lead to 34-14 by the end of the half. 

“We had guys who didn’t want the ball in their hands in the first half,” Von Eye said. “Their pressure, athleticism and intensity just really overwhelmed us I think and then we’d get quick triggered on offense and we shot the ball sometimes just to shoot it before we lost it.”

Unfortunately, Douglas came out in the second half and out-scored Newcastle 17-7 in the third and 18-6 in the fourth quarter, establishing a 40-point lead with about three or four minutes to play, which instituted the mercy rule, running clock for the remainder of the contest. 

Besides not having a very good shooting game, the Dogies also gave up far too many defensive rebounds. Douglas had 19 offensive boards and out-rebounded Newcastle 39-23 overall.

“I thought we defended pretty decently through stretches of the game. When you look at their 3-point percentage, they went 10-37 and when they shoot 25% from the perimeter, in a normal game you’re sitting okay,” Von Eye said. “But we gave up 19 offensive rebounds, and there’s one possession that came to mind where they took three 3s, and got two looks at interior shots and they finally hit the last one. The four missed shots don’t matter because they ended with a bucket.”

Slade Roberson and Tate Engle led the Dogies in scoring with 8 points apiece and were followed by Aidan Chick and Hayden Overman who each added 4. Hogan Tystad was the only other Dogie to get on the board as he rounded out the scoring with 3 points. 

“Douglas is a very good team and they were ready to go, but they aren’t that much better than us,” Von Eye said. “We talked about the fact that we need to move into the next phase as a team where we play like we are capable against those top-tier teams.”

This week the Dogies host back-to-back home games as they welcome the 2A Big Horn Rams on Friday with tip off scheduled at 6, and the Rawlins Outlaws on Saturday beginning at 3. Themes for the two games are Pink night on Friday and Hawaiian night on Saturday.

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