DECATUR — There’s no time to celebrate when you’re playing the track team that is the No. 3-ranked Kennedale Wildcats.
They withstood every rally the Burkburnett Bulldogs threw at them Tuesday night, racing right back down the Decatur High School floor, for an 82-72 win and a trip to the Class 3A Region I tournament in Lubbock
Kennedale (33-2) got 25 points from junior Ty Charles and 19 from V.J. Hughes, who took turns at the finish line on a number of Wildcat fast breaks.
“When you’re playing us, you’d better get your butt back on defense or we’re going to make you pay,” said Kennedale coach Doug Groff afterward. “Everyone likes to push the ball at this level, but that’s our game and we really work at it.”
It was Charles that sparked the Wildcats in the fourth quarter after Burkburnett (24-10) had closed the gap to 51-42 to begin the final period. After the Bulldogs’ Elijah Strickland finally broke a 1-for-8 slump from beyond the 3-point arc for Burkburnett, cutting the lead to 51-45, Charles responded with three consecutive steals and layups to push the lead back out to 59-45.
A offensive rebound and score from Aundre Jackson (17 points) followed by a Kelon Doss jumper gave Kennedale a 16-point lead (63-47) before the Bulldogs could catch their breath. Even six fourth-quarter three-pointers – including four from Strickland — didn’t matter as Kennedale answered each one.
The Wildcats opened the game on a flurry, taking a 14-2 lead before the Bulldogs hit their second shot from the field. After trailing 20-32 at the half, Burkburnett opened the third quarter on a 12-4 run to get within 36-32. But Hughes connected on a three of his own, and then Charles and Oscar Howard reeled off six quick points inside to hold off the rally.
Strickland led Burkburnett with 28 points.
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