By JASON EPP
Leader & Times
TULSA, OKLA.—The Forgan Bulldogs entered the night with aspirations of pulling off a monumental upset of the second largest school in the state of Oklahoma, the Tulsa Union Redskins, at the Tournament of Champions at the Mabee Center. But foul trouble, a below average shooting night, and a talented opponent derailed those hopes as the Bulldogs fell 60-47.
Forgan broke their trend from the previous night, and started out well, taking an 8-4 lead midway through the first quarter. But a second foul by Ryan Radcliff just moments later hurt the Bulldogs as Union decided to full-court press Forgan. Union’s quick guards forced turnovers, and their size gave the Redskins plenty of second chance baskets on a 19-0 run over a six minute stretch that was the difference in the game.
“Just really, really proud of my kids and the way they competed,” said Forgan head coach Todd Kerr. “It was the ultimate challenge; they’ve got really good guards, and then they run 4-5 6-6 guys at you, just rotating them in. Their depth is a definitely an advantage, and their press hurt us during that stretch. It wasn’t something we had seen—pressure that is that good. Obviously it shows us some things we need to get better at.”
Forgan was able to regain their composure, and outscored Union 17-12 to end the half, including Rhett Radcliff’s bomb from the ‘O’ on the ORU court. Forgan still trailed 36-25 at the half.
The Bulldogs continued to crawl back into the game with a 15-9 advantage over the first five minutes of the second half that cut the Redskin lead to just five. Over the second four minutes of the third quarter Union pushed the lead to 49-40, while Forgan saw all three of their senior starters called for their third fouls.
“What a bunch of competitors,” said Kerr. “They’re going to fight to the end on anything that we run into. It was big to have the experience and composure during the tough times. It’s easy to stay together when things are going good. But during those tough stretches we hung tight and hung together and that’s why we were able to stay in the ball game.”
Forgan continued to hang around, but could not get the shots to fall in the fourth.
A night after shooting 61 percent from the field, the Bulldogs only hit 41 percent. Maybe a more telling number was Union’s 57 field goal attempts to only 39 for Forgan.
Forgan was led in scoring by Jake Regier and Rhett Radcliff, each with 11. Ryan Radcliff added 8, and Tanner Jones 6.
Forgan faces 5A Bishop McGuiness, who lost 57-42 to Tulsa Washington, for third place in their final game of the Tournament.
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