Bulldogs Top Shamrocks

Barnesville explodes for 35 points in third quarter

Photo by Seth Staskey Barnesville’s Tate Dowler dribbles up court, while Bridgeport’s Trevonn Ray defends during Tuesday’s contest at Bridgeport High School. Barnesville emerged victorious by a final score of 67-50.

BRIDGEPORT — The third quarter was certainly a point of contention for both Donnie Cash and Matt Johnson.

For completely different reasons, however.

Bridgeport watched Barnesville take a 26-23 lead into halftime of Tuesday’s game, but Cash wasn’t upset. He simply encouraged his team to clean some things up.

And the Bulldogs (4-4) certainly did. Bridgeport outscored the Shamrocks, 35-11 during the third quarter and went on to post a convincing 67-50 victory before a solid turnout inside the John J. Havlicek Gymnasium.

“We caught fire and played really well on both ends of the court in the third,” Cash said. “We played hard in the first half, but we talked, at halftime, about being in the right spot in rotations, getting hands on passes, so we could get out in transition.”

Meanwhile, Johnson and the Shamrocks are headed back to the drawing board in search of some answers on how to avoid the third-quarter meltdowns that have negatively impacted them for much of the season.

“There’s no excuse for getting outscored by 24 points in one quarter, but it’s something I have to figure out,” Johnson lamented. “We don’t play very hard at times. That’s directly on me. It’s disappointing.”

Fueling the Bulldogs, who had runs of 13-4 and 12-0 during stretches of the third, was an impressive effort from senior Macrae Doyle, who is enjoying a solid campaign.

Doyle led all scorers in the game with 24 points. Included was an 18-point outburst in the decisive third. Included was a quartet of treys.

“Macrae was lights out in the third quarter,” Cash said. “That’s something you expect because he’s worked hard since the end of last season.”

Though Johnson was complimentary of Doyle’s performance, he was none too pleased with how many clean looks he had.

“Give (Doyle) credit because he’s a good player, but we make it easy, sometimes, for guys to catch fire,” Johnson said. “We don’t do a very good job of getting up and contesting or challenging shots. That’s something we need to do a better job of. We’ll go back to practice and work hard and continue to take it day-by-day like we always do.”

Doyle was complemented in the third by talented Trevonn Ray, who had 16 points. Of those, 10 came in the third.

With the Bulldogs holding a 58-37 lead entering the fourth, the hole was simply too deep for the Shamrocks to make up much ground. Unhappy with his team’s effort, Johnson hoped to send a message. He lifted his entire first unit, but it eventually re-entered the game.

The Shamrocks, who are now 3-6, were led by splendid sophomore Luke Powell. He scored 17, while Andy Marovich added 14.

Both teams are in action Friday. Bridgeport treks to River, while Barnesville visits Shenandoah.