As the feature game for the Pink Out For Black event, the Claiborne Bulldogs and the Union County Patriots took the floor after the girls’ game and the Claiborne team was going for win number ten on the season as opposed to two last season. The 10-win mark is one that the young Bulldogs team thought to be unlikely but there they were standing on its doorstep.
The two teams lined up for the tip-off on another warm night Feb. 6 and the two teams went after each other early. After diving on the hardwood for a loose ball Claiborne and Union both went on runs that at the 4:40 mark ended with a 7-7 tie. The Bulldogs took the lead at 9-7 and then the Patriots responded. It was that type of game until CHS established a five point advantage and kept it until the end of the first period.
It was 19-14 coming into the second period and the Bulldogs pulled out to 22-18 by the six minute mark. Although the Bulldogs had pulled away the Patriots responded and got the lead down to two points before CHS responded and made their lead five points once again. The score was 35-27 in favor of the home team playing in front of a rowdy crowd and student section like no other.
Claiborne being led by Elijah Beason quickly made the score 41-27 and had the student section all fired up. A time out by the Patriots slowed the Bulldogs’ momentum down. A Bulldog technical foul and intentional foul at the 5:20 mark gave the visitors four free throws plus the ball and made the score 41-30. The loud crowd likely influenced the Bulldogs who kept scoring the basketball and led 47-36 with just over two minutes remaining in the third period. Back to back turnovers allowed Union County to draw to within seven at the 1:30 mark. CHS struggled with fouls at the end of the third as they had six on the board as opposed to the Patriots’ two. The Claiborne train was trying to derail and after three periods the lead was only two for the home team at 47-45.
During the final period, Claiborne pulled ahead but the Patriots caught back up and actually looked to have the momentum on their side. With the lead floating around three points the Bulldogs went on a run and quickly had their advantage to nine with 2:39 remaining. Union battled back and had the lead down to five but CHS spread the floor and used their half court set to count off the seconds while drawing fouls. They were able to put the game away from the free throw line as they shot near perfect during the final period. The final score was 67-57.
Leading the Bulldogs in scoring was Ty Stone with 16. Elijah Beason followed his 28 point effort with 15 points. Hunter Rosenbalm recovered from an intentional foul called against him to rally in the final period, hitting 6-7 free throws and finished with 14 points. Andrew Coots and Jacob Runions had seven points each. Houston Hatfield scored five. Matthew Walker and Evan Ickes rounded out the scoring with two and one point respectively.
Leading Union County in scoring was B. Nease with 13 points.
After the game Coach Brian O’Dell spoke about his team and how they played tonight and he said, “They played great tonight. I told them after the Greeneville loss that we could give up or go out and try to win our last five games and I think they decided to go out and try to win.”
Claiborne is on a three game win streak after the Union game and have now won ten games on the season.
Reach Allen Earl at 423-254-5588 or on Twitter @pitchadude.