Crockett Bulldogs turned up the intensity level in the second half to pull away from Central and claim the bi-district championship 68-50 Monday night at Groveton.
"We came out and played well defensively. Our goal was to send a lot of bodies at No. 11 ( Riley Dewitz), and I think we kind of wore them down at the end. We knew it would be a dogfight. They got going early but we stayed in the game and got it done on the defensive end," said Bulldog Head Coach Kadrian Bryant, whose crew will face Kountze or Van Vleck in the area round.
Crockett's defense limited Dewitz, a sophomore, to 17 points on the night.
Crockett led 14-11 after a quarter, 26-22 at the break, and 44-35 at the end of the three, but Central got within five early in the fourth before the Bulldogs began pulling away.
Bulldog Xavion Dixon booked a double-double, contributing a team-high 17 points off the bench while collecting 11 rebounds.
"We've been looking for that type of play from Xavion all year," said Bryant. "I told him the playoffs is a chance to start over. We're 0-and-0 right now, so let's go out in this new season and play the type of basketball we know we can play. And that's what Xavion did tonight."
"Our bench played a huge role. I told them to play really solid defense and knock down their free throws. They helped us wear down Central, and late in the game they hit some free throws and took care of the basketball to help us ease our way to victory," he added.
Deandre Anderson drained a pair of treys and finished with 14 points. Scoring 9 apiece were Rasheed Epps and Octavius Anderson (1 trey), who also had 4 rebounds.
Alton Owens scored 6, Lucky Daniels 4, Vunterrious Leonard 4 and Derrick Sherman 2, Dewan Simon 2, and Traveon Duncan 1.
Defensive leaders were Tyress Anderson with 3 steals and Leonard with 4 blocks.
Trailing by three late in the opening frame, the Bulldogs closed out the first with a 6-0 spurt that included a bucket by Rasheed Epps and two by Dixon to take a 14-11 lead.
Crockett carried a 26-21 lead into halftime and opened up an eight-point edge early in the second half, only to see Central cut their lead to 36-33 with 2:56 left in the third.
The Bulldogs responded with an 8-2 run, giving them a 44-35 cushion heading into the fourth.
After Central opened the final frame with two unanswered buckets that cut the lead to five, Deandre Anderson buried a 3-pointer to ignite a 10-0 run that put Crockett up 54-39 with 5:00 left.
The Bulldogs opened up their biggest lead of 20 points, 67-47, in the closing minutes.