By JASON EPP
• Leader & Times
FORGAN, Okla. - The No.1-ranked Forgan Bulldogs locked down the defensive end of the floor, winning 49-28 over Beaver in the guy’s version of the “Six-Mile War”.
On a night where the shots were not falling at their normal pace, Forgan was at the top of their game defensively against county rival Beaver, allowing no more than 8 points in any single quarter.
“They’re a really good club, and in a year they’ve matured so much defensively,” said Beaver coach Brian Stalder. “I felt like we did a lot of things right, we just ran into somebody who defensively could just lock down. I was really impressed with what Forgan did defensively.”
Forgan opened the game with a 12-5 run, but saw post player Tanner Jones have to head to the bench with two fouls in the first quarter. Beaver battled back within three, but and 11-2 Bulldog run put the score at 23-11 with 3:03 left in the half. Of the 11 points scored by Forgan during that run, none were scored by their top three scorers.
Foul trouble hit the Bulldogs late in the half with Jones picking up his third, and Ryan Radcliff and Tyler McReynolds each getting their second foul. Samuel Becker kept the Dusters within reach, scoring 11 of Beaver’s first half 15.
“Beaver’s got a good basketball team, and they had a good plan tonight,” said Forgan coach Todd Kerr. “They ‘uglied’ the game up. I thought it benefited us to be in that type of game, to fight and scratch and claw and find a way to win a game.”
Forgan led at the break 23-15. This after Forgan had scored 26 in each of the first three quarters of their last game - The Oil Center Classic finals.
“Our defense is what we hang our hat on every night,” said Kerr. “Defense is what’s going to win for you in the end, because there’s going to be nights we don’t shoot great. And you’re going to play teams that run a lot of offense and make you defend and slow the tempo. There guards really made us chase and work.”
Forgan was able to get the offensive end going again at the beginning of the third with a 10- run to go up 33-15 with 4:40 left in the third. Beaver was held to only one made field goal and five total points in the third, and trailed 35-20 heading to the fourth.
Forgan pushed the lead as high as 23 before both teams pulled their starters late in the fourth.
“I was real pleased with our effort,” said Stalder. “Maybe if we can get a shot or two to fall we can make it closer, but I’m not embarrassed in any way, shape, or form. I’m just real impressed with the way Forgan played defense.”
Jake Regier led the Bulldogs with 14 points; Ryan Radcliff added 13, and Rhett Radcliff 7. Samuel Becker led the Dusters with 13, and Cole Trippet added 9 - all in the second half.
Forgan improves to 15-2, and travels to Balko Saturday, and will host Guymon Tuesday. Beaver falls to 11-6, and will host Turpin Tuesday.