By Leslie Gibson
In what Coach Anthony Howerton called great preparation for district, against athletic and determined competition, the Royse City Bulldogs went on to win third place in the Tatum Eagle Holiday Hoopfest.
They won four games and then lost one to put them in the third-place game Saturday when they beat Shelbyville 64-48.
In the third place game, Crutchfield led the ’Dawgs with 26 points, and Smith tossed in 13. Dustin Peterson had 9; Brian Irby had 5; Justin Jacobs, 4; Wynn Posey, 4; Kollin Padon, 2; and Scotty Arterberry, 1.
Smith led the rebounding with 11, and had four blocks and three steals. Crutchfield had five steals and six assists. Jacobs had seven assists and six steals.
To open the tournament, the Bulldogs easily handled Kemp, 75-31, Padon active in all ways: He had 13 rebounds, three steals, five assists and, as one of four scoring in double figures, he had 10 points, including his three-pointer. The others were: Crutchfield with 21; Posey with 14; and Smith with 12. Arterberry grabbed 8 rebounds.
Against Newton in the winner’s bracket Thursday afternoon, several three pointers boosted the team to a 78-70 victory.
Crutchfield’s 30 points and Peterson’s 19 rebounds helped the ’Dawgs stay in the game, with Crutchfield, Peterson, Posey and Smith working hard in and out of the lanes on shooting and free throws, and providing assists, rebounds and steals.
Six of Crutchfield’s 30 points were on threes, and eight on his nine free-throw attempts, and he had five assists. He had 11 rebounds and five steals.
Peterson had 15 points, four assists and two steals.
Posey had two three-pointers go on the board, and a total of 12 points — with 100 percent shooting from the free throw line for four of those 12 points.
Smith had nine points, including the three from his three-point attempt. He nabbed 13 rebounds and had two blocks.
Padon had a three-pointer.
Royse City beat Central Heights 53-36 Thursday evening. Peterson and Smith had 11 points each.
In a Bulldog battle Friday night, Royse City beat Carthage 58-52. Smith had 17 points, and as he did throughout the tournament, stayed active stealing, blocking and assisting. Crutchfield had 13 points and Peterson 11, with two four assists and two blocks.
Pittsburg beat Royse City Saturday morning, 75-60, which is what sent the ’Dawgs into the third-place game.
Smith had 16 points and three assists and worked on defensively with five blocks and eight rebounds.
Crutchfield had 13 points, including a three-pointer, and had four rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block.
Everybody nabbed rebounds including six from Posey, three each from Irby, Arterberry, Peterson, and Jacobs, two from Padon and one from J. T. Thompson.
Ranked by the 3-A coaches as No. 6, Pittsburg advanced into the championship game, and was beat by No. 4 ranked Chapel Hill, 65-55.
Justin Crutchfield and Chris Smith were named all tournament. Crutchfield averaged 18 points and six rebounds a game, and Smith averaged 13 points and 8.6 rebounds per game.
It was a “real tough tournament,” Howerton said. “If we continue to work hard and improve, we will be ready when district gets here.”
Royse City’s record for the season now stands at 10-6.
By Leslie Gibson