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Wildwood defeats Bell in regional semifinal

By Matthew Harrell
For the second year in a row, Bell had its season cut short by Wildwood.
Just like last year, the Bulldogs got off to a quick start and took an early lead, but could not hold on for the rest of the game.
Despite not shooting the ball well in the first quarter, the Bulldogs took an early lead and withstood a couple Wildwood runs to hold a 12-10 lead at the end of the first period.
But Bell’s shooting got worse in the second quarter as the Bulldogs managed just four points and, even though they held Wildwood to just nine points in the period, found themselves in a three-point hole going into the half.
Both teams were able to increase their offensive output in the third quarter, as Wildwood outscored Bell 21-16 in the frame.
Late in the third period, Bell began to cut into a seemingly evergrowing Wildwood lead. The Bulldogs had taken the Wildcats’ lead down to eight points and had the ball with less than 10 seconds to go in the third quarter.
The Bulldogs forced a turnover and pushed the ball down the floor, Tony Yoder got open for a shot at the top of the arc that would have cut the lead to five and given Bell the momentum going in to the fouth quarter, but it missed wide and Bell trailed by eight to start the fourth quarter.
The Bulldogs made some runs in the fourth quarter, but they never really threatened to take the lead and Wildwood defeated the Bulldogs, 59-45, to advance to the state playoffs.
Seniors Reese Rankin, Terek Liles and Tony Yoder made up all of the Bulldogs’ double-digit scorers. Rankin led the team with 13 points and Liles and Yoder each added 10.
The Bulldogs’ season ends with a record of 23-6. This was the fourth-consecutinve season in which the Bulldogs have advanced to the regional playoffs.

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