GRAND PRAIRIE — Arlington Bowie coach Allen Gratts knew his Vols were going to have a tough time matching up with Richland’s size in Tuesday’s playoff contest.
So the Vols, predominately a man-to-man defensive team, employed a 3-2 zone, jumped to an early lead and held on for a 76-70 victory over the Rebels in their Class 5A Region I bi-district matchup at Grand Prairie High School. Bowie (24-10) will face El Paso Coronado (32-1) in the second round.
“They’re a pretty difficult team to try to guard man-to-man the whole game,” Gratts said. “So we said we’re going to run zone and see if we can get something out of it early.”
The Vols‘ tallest starter Tuesday was 6-foot-2 Malcolm Hughes, while Richland countered with the 6-8 Leyton Hammonds and 6-9 Tim Priller inside. The Rebels (22-9) are accustomed to facing zone defenses but had a hard time knocking down perimeter shots and couldn’t get the ball down low to open the game as the Vols raced to a 16-10 lead after the first quarter.
Richland made a concerted effort in the second period to get the ball to Hammonds, their star forward who signed with Oklahoma State, but couldn’t keep up with Bowie’s torrid pace. Led by guards Jeremy Senglin, who finished with a team-high 27 points, and David Chavlovich (16 points), Bowie opened up a 16-point lead by halftime.
The third quarter was much the same as the Vols led by 20 heading to the fourth by continually beating their defender off the dribble and scoring at the rim or finding an open man for a wide open 3-pointer.
“We really wanted to just play defense, get rebounds and let the offense come to us and it did,” Senglin said.
The Rebels scored 34 points in the fourth quarter to cut into the deficit by nailing four 3-pointers and behind Hammonds, who turned in a monster 34-point, 17-rebound, two-block performance. But Bowie converted 12 free throws, including eight straight to close the ballgame.
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