Crockett Bulldog hoopsters used a big third-quarter push to edge Trinity 68-62 Wednesday night in the championship game of the Houston County Holiday Tournament.
Trinity led 20-13 after a quarter, but opened up a double-digit lead several times in the second quarter before Crockett cut it 38-30 at intermission.
Turning up the intensity level, Crockett dominated the third period 25 to 10. The Bulldogs came out sizzling after halftime and rattled off a 17 to 2 run that put them in front 47-39 midway through the third.
Trinity cut the lead to four, 51-47. with :33 but the Dogs answered with two baskets by Xavion Dixon, whose buzzer-beater gave Crockett a 55-47 lead heading into the final period.
Two free throws by Derrick Sherman early in the fourth gave Crockett a 10-point lead, but the Tigers reeled off 13 unanswered points to take the lead 60-57 with 3:40 left.
After Jurmond Wooten drained a 3-pointer to tie the game at 60-all, the Tigers scored a bucket with 2:40 left to go back in front 62-60.
Rasheed Epps, who was 8-of-9 at the line, tied the game with a pair of free throws and then put the Bulldogs in front 64-62 with a basket at the 1:35 mark.
The Bulldogs picked up their final four points at the charity stripe. Tyress Anderson nailed a free throw with 1:00 left and Epps hit another for a three-point lead.
After a steal by Xavion Dixon, Epps was fouled and went to the line for two shots with :08 left.
The senior Bulldog sank both to give Crockett a six-point cushion.
Epps finished the night with 16 points, 11 coming in the second half. Jurmond Wooten rang up 12 points in the first half and finished with 15, including three treys.
Rounding out the scoring were Dixon with 8, Sherman with 7, Octavius Anderson with 7, Tyress Anderson with 6, Deandre Anderson with 5, and Demarkus Griffin 4.
"I think we're a better team than Trinity, but we didn't play up to our level," said Bulldog Head Coach Kadrian Bryant.
Both teams finished third in their pools with 2-2 records. The Bulldogs beat Shelbyville and Normangee on Monday before falling to class 4A Coldspring 71-68 and 4A Madisonville 56-47 on Tuesday.
"I felt we should have won both those games. We have to learn to finish a game, not turn the ball over and control the tempo of the ball game," said Coach Bryant.
Trinity lost its first two games Monday to Fairfield and Grapeland, but bounced back Tuesday with wins over Onalaska and Bremond.
The Bulldogs and Tigers will meet again for their first round district match-up Jan. 12 at The Hop.
Here's a summary of the Bulldogs' pool games Tuesday:
The Trojans led 17-12 after a quarter, 35-23 at the break and 50-39 after three quarters.
Crockett's scoring was led by Rasheed Epps with 19 points, Tyress Anderson with 12 and Derrick Sherman with 10. Other scorers were Deandre Anderson with 8, Vunterrius Leonard 6, Xavion Dixon 6, Jurmond Wooten 4, Alton Owens 4, and Lucky Daniels 2.
The Bulldogs started off strong and led 15-7 at the end of the first and 29-21 at the half. The Mustangs outscored the Bulldogs 17 to 7 in the third to slip in front 38-36 and then outscored them by seven in the final quarter.
Xavion Dixon led the scoring with 15, followed by Rasheed Epps with 10, Deandre Anderson with 7, Damarkus Griffin 4, Lucky Daniels 3, Tyress Anderson 3, Octavius Anderson 3 and Vunterius Leonard with 2.