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Dogs nip Groesbeck, rip Buffalo

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Crockett's Courtney Byrd recorded a double-double against Buffalo on Friday with 13 points and 10 boards.Crockett's Courtney Byrd recorded a double-double against Buffalo on Friday with 13 points and 10 boards.By Larry Lamb
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CROCKETT – Crockett Bulldogs survived a nail-biting finish at Groesbeck, 78-77, last Tuesday and then raced past Buffalo, 76-44, at home Friday.

The No. 15-ranked Bulldogs trailed Groesbeck at the end of the first two quarters, 24-23 and 37-36.

Groesbeck outscored the Bulldogs by six in the third quarter to open up a 62-55 lead but the game went down to the wire.

"It was a wild finish," said Bulldogs head coach Drae Murray.

With Crockett up by one, 76-75, with 20-plus seconds left, Murray called time-out and drew up a play.

"I told the guys if something happens and Groesbeck scores, we're going to push the ball up the floor quickly and we're going to score," said the coach.

Things did not go as planned, however, as Groesbeck stole the ball and scored to go in front 77-76.

The Bulldogs got the ball back with 14 seconds left. Tayshawn Simon passed to Jadyn Collins, who drove the length of the floor and scored a go-ahead layup.

Groesbeck heaved the ball down the court as time expired and the Bulldogs escaped with a one-point victory.

"Our guys executed the plan and we got the win. It was a good game. Groesbeck has a big man who had a double-double with 22 points and 11 rebounds against us," said Murray.

Crockett was led in double figures by Simon with 20 (4 treys), Collins with 18, Courtney Byrd with 17 and Delvin "D.J." Walker with 10.

Bre'dron Tucker netted 6, Keshun Easterling 4 and Iverson Rischer had 3.

The Bulldogs didn't need any last- second heroics to beat Buffalo.

Crockett led 18-12 after a quarter but gained some breathing room in the second with a 25-11 run that propelled them to a 42-23 lead.

Leading 63-29 heading into the fourth quarter, Murray pulled his starters and put the game in the hands of the bench. 

"We didn't play our starters in the fourth so we could get a look at the other  guys who don't get many minutes. We'll need those guys in big games, so we want to get them in the game a little more," said Murray.

Picking up where the starters left off, Murray's bench opened up a 37-point lead  midway through the fourth.

"We generally don't start out fast, which is concerning still. As we get into the flow of the game I think we eventually settle in. When we play our style of basketball we show we're probably one of the top teams in 3A. We just have to figure out how to do it for 32 minutes," said Murray.

Byrd recorded a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Walker poured in 22 points, including a pair of treys, in just three quarters. The senior collected 9 rebounds leaving him just one board shy of a double-double. "He was good, but he's still missing shots. He has to get his legs back under him more," said Murray.

Collins picked up his 11 points in the first half and Tucker finished with 11.

Easterling booked 7 points and 9 rebounds, followed by Jarodrick Holmes with 5, Simon 4, Ajani Ellis 3 and Rischer with 2.

"Overall it was a good team win. We played better on the defensive end. We were able to get rebounds and run. I know D.J. got a lot of his 22 points off offensive rebounds. That's one thing I challenged him on --  being more aggressive on the offensive glass. He's doing that and he's getting us extra possessions," said Murray.

Praising Tucker for energizing the Bulldogs, Murray said, "I love his energy. Bre'dron just moved into the starting lineup over the Christmas break and you can tell the energy he brings helps us out and he rebounds really well. He is one guy you can depend on to play hard for you. I appreciate him for that effort he gives us every game."

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