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Bulldogs snatch victory from Wolves’ jaws

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After trailing 35-19 with 3:39 remaining in the third quarter of Friday night’s District 27-4A showdown against Davenport, the Bandera varsity boys basketball team put together a dramatic comeback effort and stormed all the way back to claim a thrilling 49-46 overtime win over the Wolves.

“I was so proud of our kids because they never quit,” said Coach Brady Keane. “We were down 10 points at the half and our shots weren’t falling, but nobody hung their heads in the locker room. Even when it was a 16 point game in the third quarter, our leaders kept everyone focused on taking things one possession at a time.”

The win was the fourth straight for the Bulldogs in the gauntlet that is District 27-4A play. Bandera is now 16-11 on the season and 4-1 in district with an open date on Tuesday night. The team will return to action at home Friday night against Boerne, who is unbeaten in district play and is ranked No. 5 in all of Class 4A.

The Bulldogs struggled to get anything going offensively in the first half but played well enough defensively to stay within striking distance as Davenport led 13-5 after one quarter and 20-10 at halftime. The Wolves started to pull away in the third, but Bandera settled in and started to chip away one possession at a time after trailing by as many as 16 points. By the end of the third, the deficit was back to 10 points thanks to a scoring stretch that included five points from junior Bryson Holden and three points from junior Noah Barnett.

With the game back within reach, the Bulldogs traded baskets with Davenport through the first minute and a half of the fourth quarter before a left-corner 3-point shot from junior Gavin Ortiz finally brought Bandera back within single digits at 41-32 with 6:14 remaining. Ortiz connected on a midrange jumper to make it 41-34 with 4:56 to go, and sophomore Eli Salas got a steal and knocked down a clutch 3-point shot in transition to make it 4137 Davenport with 3:23 left. After another stop on the defensive end, Ortiz knocked down a 3 from the left wing to bring Bandera within one at 41-40 with 2:45 remaining.

The Wolves snapped a scoreless drought of nearly 4:00 with a layup at the 2:15 mark, but Barnett secured an offensive rebound and a put back to keep the game within one at 43-42 with 1:58 to go. After exchanging defensive stops down the stretch, Bandera got a huge offensive rebound from junior Alex Dirck with less than 10 seconds to go. Dirck was fouled on the put back attempt, and converted 1-of-2 free throws to send the game to overtime.

Davenport scored first in the overtime period but senior Kayden Brown answered with a steal and layup. Dirck made the goahead layup off a pick-androll set, and the Bulldogs got the stops they needed in the final two minutes of overtime to secure the improbable 49-46 win.

Several players stepped up in key moments throughout the second half for Bandera, including Dirck who finished with his second double-double of the season after posting 12 points and 12 rebounds. Ortiz had 11 points on 3-of-5 shooting from 3-point range, Noah Barnett had 11 points, five rebounds and five assists, Brown had six points, five rebounds, two steals and two assists, and Holden had five points and two rebounds. Salas chipped in three points, four assists, four deflections, four steals and three rebounds in the win.