By JASON EPP
Leader & Times
No.1 The Forgan Bulldogs finally got their chance at defending state champion No.2 Arnett Saturday after a flu outbreak had postponed the game from its original Jan. 17 date.
Forgan used a big third quarter to put the game away, making the Bulldogs the clear-cut favorite in Class B after a 78-58 win at Arnett.
“I thought the biggest thing was the way we responded when we came out for the second half,” Bulldogs coach Todd Kerr said. “We were able to control the game.”
At half Forgan led 40-33, but a 21-5 third quarter run put the Bulldogs in complete control with a 23-point lead heading into the fourth.
“I challenged them at halftime on the defensive end,” Kerr said. “We gave up 35 points in the first half; I wasn’t very pleased with that. The defense in the third was the key to the whole thing.”
Forgan maintained in the fourth quarter, just trying to make sure they kept the door shut on any kind of big run by Arnett.
“The whistles were blowing and we were in some foul trouble so we tried to limit their possessions and take good shots and I thought we really did a good job at that,” Kerr said.
Forgan finished the game 23 of 32 inside the arc and 6 of 16 from beyond the arc. Forgan held Arnett to just 33 percent from the field (17-51).
The free throw line was important with the game being called tight. Forgan took care of business there, making 14 of 18. Arnett was 17 of 21.
“The history of the series we’ve had with Arnett was probably why the game was called so tight,” Kerr said. “They probably felt that’s what had to happen and I don’t disagree with that.”
Games between the two schools in the recent past have been chippy, and at times very physical. But Kerr felt like the players on both sides handled everything well Saturday.
“I thought the players on both sides just played basketball,” Kerr. “I didn’t think there was anything in this game that was outside the realm of what we were trying to do, which was play ball.”
Forgan started the game quickly, and led by 10 at the end of the first (24-14). Arnett cut into the lead in the second with a 19-16 advantage.
“I thought we played really well on the offensive end,” Kerr said. “Obviously we shot the ball well and were able to get out on them and withstand a couple of runs they made on us.”
Forgan is now 20-0 and finished the toughest part of their regular season unscathed with tough wins over Laverne, Southwestern Heights, and now Arnett.
“The last week and a half we’ve been challenged three times really well,” First against a very athletic Laverne team, then the environment at Southwestern Heights Tuesday was a good, and a good measure to get us ready for Saturday.”
No.1 Forgan will host Texhoma Tuesday.