COLUMBIA — The third time was the charm for the NHS Bulldogs Saturday afternoon as they defeated the Lake Marion Gators 77-47 to win the AA State Championship.
From the opening tip, the NHS players were bulldogish Bulldogs on the court, playing tenacious defense and attacking the basket.
The fast paced, aggressive play allowed NHS to overcome an 11-5 Lake Marion start.
Big shots by Seniors Trey Miller and Jaylen Lindsay and Devin Harmon allowed the dogs to tie it at 11 with 4:11 remaining in the first quarter.
Miller hit a clutch three-pointer with 2:41 left to give NHS a 16-13 lead. From there, the Bulldogs never trailed.
They pushed the lead to 28-16 on a three-pointer by senior Bennett Wilson with 7:32 left in the half.
NHS kept the pace fast and pressured the ball.
They also clogged the passing lanes and frustrated the Gator offense on the way to a 45-28 halftime lead.
NHS denied the ball into the post with pressure defense on the ball. Hustling to loose balls and getting second chance points helped stake a big lead.
“These nine seniors would not get out of here being denied. We preached it to them Sunday that they were in for a 15 round fight, not 12. And tonight we knocked them out about round nine,” NHS Head Coach Chad Cary said. “This is awesome. I’m happy for our kids and school and community.”
The dogs kept the heat on the Gators in the second half on their way to victory. For more on this state championship, see the Monday edition of The Newberry Observer.