SAGINAW — Arlington Martin’s hot shooting Tuesday is always the best recipe for boys playoff basketball.
But Southlake Carroll forced the Warriors to play a fourth-quarter game of keep-away in a 65-51 Class 5A bi-district win at Saginaw High School.
Martin (27-6) shot 48 percent from the field and advances to play the winner of Odessa Permian and El Paso Franklin in the area round.
“At this point, you’re going to have to shoot the ball well,” Martin coach Jeff Plemons said. “We got a lot of transition baskets, so I was really pleased with how we responded on defense against some tough competition.”
The Warriors dropped 22 shots on 45 attempts and used transition points in the second quarter to build the cushion they needed.
Carroll (19-14) couldn’t respond with its up-tempo style and went cold with its offense in the final quarter.
Andrew Dotson led Martin with 22 points, Josh Swearingin had 12 and and Nick Babb added 10.
The Warriors forced 19 turnovers and the defense opened up easy transition baskets.
“The games will only get harder,” Babb said. “Our defense was big tonight and for us to have the kind of playoff success we want, we have to keep playing at that level.”
Babb started the main fireworks late in the first quarter with a steal at mid-court. He threw down a big dunk to fire up the Martin crowd.
A 10-0 Warriors run helped them take a 27-19 lead early in the second quarter. That run got the Dragons off-balance and they had only three field goals to finish the quarter.
“It seemed like a game of runs and we just couldn’t find that extra to get us over the hurdle,” Carroll coach Eric McDade said. “We made the playoffs and like I told the team, it’s an expectation now at Southlake Carroll.”
Martin went into its prevent offense in the fourth quarter with an 11-point lead to start. It kept any Carroll rally at bay, as the Dragons made just three field goals.
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