By Jacob Govero
Blue Eye, MO – It was homecoming night in Blue Eye and the home team Bulldogs defeated the Billings Wildcats, 74-54.
Blue Eye used a strong second quarter pulling away from their visitors from up north. Blue Eye was paced by leading scorer and last season’s Ozone Freshman of the Year winner Andrew Mitchell with 24 points. Blue Eye improved to 13-7 overall and 2-1 in conference play. Billings dropped to 10-11 and 1-4 in the SWCL.
Coming into the game, Coach Turner knew his kids might be a little distracted by the evening’s festivities.
“I was afraid we’d come out a little flat,” he said, “and that was the case early, but give them credit because they were really active defensively.”
Billings came out of the gate strong going up 12-7 after a drive and foul resulted in three points for junior Jacob Smith. Smith finished second on the team in scoring with 16 points. However, those points would be the last of the quarter for the visitors. Senior Jacob Porter connected from long range to give Blue Eye their first lead of the game 15-12. That would be a lead that they would never relinquish.
Billings’ head coach Kendall Tilley was proud of his team’s performance but knew it could be a difficult game. “We’ve been putting together some good quarters, but they started hitting some shots. Mitchell is really good and we started concentrating on him and their other guards hit some shots, then it kind of steamrolled on us there in the second quarter.”
After falling behind early, the Bulldogs used a 16-2 run to pull ahead 26-14. Mitchell’s fourth trey of the first half finished off that run as Blue Eye went into halftime leading 33-23.
Mitchell was able to score from all around the court mixing in outside shots with inside. “I just tried to not put myself in one spot and tried to move around to get easy buckets and help get other guys open too.”
The second half started much like the first ended as Blue Eye used a 15-3 run to push their lead to 48-26 with 3:52 to go in the third quarter. Billings’ junior guard Luke Johnson answered with one of his many sleek drives to the basket to make it 50-28.
Johnson led the Wildcats in scoring for the game with 20 points. Blue Eye’s Brennan Fairchild hit a shot underneath to make the score 55-31 to end the third quarter.
Although they were shorthanded and coming off a game the night before Billings never gave up. The Wildcats outscored Blue Eye 24-19 in the final quarter but the 25 point deficit was too much to overcome.
Billings has a few days off before they welcome Niangua to town on next Friday. Blue Eye continues conference play as they travel to Sparta for a game Tuesday night.
Blue Eye 74, Billing 54
Blue Eye 15 18 22 19-74
Billings 12 11 8 21-54
Blue Eye scoring- Ryan Reagan-14, Nathan Garnett-4, Jacob Crothamel-2, Brennan Fairchild-10, Luke Dawson-11, Jacob Porter-6, Logan Alva-3, Andrew Mitchell-24
Billings scoring- Bobby Brown-5, Jacob Smith-16, Luke Johnson-20, Grant Groves-7, Braden Ray-2, Tyler Essick-4