Bulldogs pick up state win over La Conner

Dayton can't hit a basket early, but holds the Braves' offense down for a 39-37 victory Friday at the Spokane Arena.

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SPOKANE - It took Dayton seven minutes and 40 seconds to score Friday in elimination-game action at the boys Class 2B state basketball tournament at the Spokane Arena.

It got better for the Bulldogs as Dayton fought back from an 8-2 deficit to La Conner at the end of one quarter, and pulled out a 39-37 victory over the Braves.

"I was thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, I hope we can make a basket,'" Bulldog coach Roy Ramirez said of the first quarter. "We've never scored only two points in a quarter, but we were only down 8-2. If we were going to shoot that poorly (1-of-11 from the floor), we would be down by a lot more, but we were fortunate that they (La Conner) weren't making any baskets, either. I felt pretty confident after that."

The win sent the Bulldogs to the trophy round, where they faced Wahkiakum for fourth place on Saturday morning.

Garett Turner's baseline jumper pulled the Bulldogs within 12-6 with 4:15 left in the half.

Wyatt Frame drew a foul that drew blood, and Colton Bickelhaupt came off the bench to hit Frame's free throws and cut the Brave lead to 14-8.

Hayden Fullerton answered a Landy James bucket with a baseline drive with 2:20 left in the half to ignite an 8-0 Bulldog run.

"We came out pretty soft in the first quarter," Fullerton said. "We held them to eight points, but we didn't execute as well as we should've.

"But at the end of the second quarter, we came out with a good run that gave us a boost going to halftime," Fullerton continued. "That helped us in the second half."

Turner knocked down a trey off a Bickelhaupt feed, and on the next Bulldog possession, Bickelhaupt nailed a trey off a feed from Joey Schlachter to get the Bulldogs even at 16-16 at intermission.

"We got more aggressive," Ramirez said of the 14-8 second-quarter Bulldog run. "We got after them. We got rid of that ‘Man, we were in state' that we had last night (a 62-51 loss to Toutle Lake), and actually started playing like we normally play. That was huge."

Fullerton and Schlachter executed a back cut to open the second half. Schlachter converted the Fullerton lob pass and Dayton had its first lead of the night at 18-16 with 6:37 left in the third.

The Bulldogs went 5-of-12 from the field and held the Braves to four points, as a Fullerton-to-Schlachter alley-oop capped the quarter and sent the Bulldogs to the fourth with a 28-20 lead.

"We pull the back screen to Joey (Schlachter) out every once in a while," Fullerton said. "That's what it is for, to get a little momentum going."

Nobody likes to go home in elimination games and back came the Braves.

"They have good basketball players and came back yesterday on Colfax (a 46-38 Brave loss) after being 12 down," Ramirez said. "I knew it would be close at the end. They are scrappy and really get after it."

Senior guard Mike Wilbur made a steal and went coast-to-coast and hit a free throw to cap a 10-2 Brave run and even the scoreboard at 30-30 with 2:39 left.

Kroft Sunderland blocked Sean Hulbert's jumper and fired the ball to Frame, who laid it in and the Bulldogs grabbed a 32-30 lead with 1:36 left.

"We played good defense down the stretch," Bulldog co-captain Turner said. "That was a big defensive play by Kroft."

Spencer Novak got the Braves even for the last time with a bucket to tie it at 32-32 with 1:15 to play.

With 50 ticks left, Bickelhaupt found Fullerton, and Fullerton nailed a 3-ball and the Bulldogs had the lead for good at 35-32.

"Oh geez!" Fullerton said. "It (the 3-pointer) was my first one all tournament. I'm glad it came then."

Landy James, who led all scorers with 17 points, converted two free throws with :36 left to get the Braves within 35-34.

Dayton got the ball in play but the Brave press almost caused a 10-second count back-court violation. Ramirez, though, called a timeout to save the possession for the Bulldogs.

"Nine-tenths of a second (before the 10-count)," Ramirez said of his turnover-saving timeout.

The Braves had to foul and sent Turner to the line for a 1-and-1 with Dayton up 35-34 and 20.7 seconds left.

Turner hit nothing but the bottom of the net and the Bulldogs led 37-34.

"I was pretty nervous," Turner said. "The La Conner coach called a timeout, trying to ice it. I just said, ‘As long as I follow through, it should go in.' And it did."

Sunderland grabbed an errant Brave trey attempt and Turner was fouled again with 5.3 seconds left.

This time, he drew a little iron, but both free throws went down for an insurmountable 39-34 Dayton lead.

"It was a little more relaxing the second time," Turner said. "I was still nervous because we were only up three and anything could still happen at that point."

"He (Turner) made the shots when he needed to," Ramirez said. "We are always confident when we get him at the line."

James hit a trey at the buzzer for the Braves to run the final to 39-37.

The Bulldogs improved to 24-2 with the win. Turner led the way with 16 points, Fullerton added 11, and Schlachter pulled down a game-high 10 boards.

Dayton 39, La Conner 37

LA CONNER - Wilbur 3-6 5-7 11, L. James 7-14 2-2 17, Poulton 0-3 0-0 0, Krueger 0-0 0-0 0, Novak 3-13 0-0 7, Hulbert 1-3 0-0 2, Fohn 0-2 0-0 0, James 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 14-41 7-9 37.

DAYTON - Frame 1-1 0-0 2, Bickelhaupt 1-4 2-4 5, Schlachter 2-3 0-0 4, Fullerton 4-13 2-2 11, Turner 5-14 5-6 16, Sunderland 0-4 1-2 1. Totals 13-39 10-14 39.

La Conner 8 8 4 17 - 37

Dayton 2 14 12 11 - 39

3-pt field goals - LaC 2-18 (James 1-5, Poulton 0-2, Novak 1-9, Fohn 0-2), Day 3-11 (Bickelhaupt 1-3, Fullerton 1-6, Turner 1-2). Total fouls - LaC 16, Day 14. Fouled out - none. Technicals - none. Rebounds - LaC 23 (James 7), Day 26 (Schlachter 10). Turnovers - LaC 11, Day 11. Assists - LaC 5 (Wilbur 2, Novak 2), Day 5 (Fullerton 3).

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