DODGE CITY — The Osborne Bulldogs overcame the Lebo Wolves Thursday to advance to the semi-final round of the boys 1A State Basketball Tournament at United Wireless Arena.
Final score: Osborne 44, Lebo 41.
How the Bulldogs pulled it off, however, was unclear, even to Osborne head coach Jamie Wolters.
“We didn’t play very well,” Wolters said. “I don’t know how we did it really. We just executed a little bit better in the second half. First half we got off to a good start, then we got to taking too quick of shots and we weren’t patient at all. Of course that’s what pressure does.”
The Bulldogs led 11-10 at the end of the first quarter but trailed 24-21 at halftime after the Wolves outscored them 14-10 in the second.
“Credit to them, their defense was great,” Wolters said.
Osborne committed 14 turnovers versus 13 by Lebo. Lebo outrebouned them 31-26, and hit three extra 3-pointers. The Wolves also had nine second-chance points against the Bulldogs’ 4.
Still, the Bulldogs outshot the Wolves in two key areas: from the field (45.9 percent shooting to 35.7 percent shooting) and from the free throw line, where the Bulldogs shot 9 of 14, while the Wolves shot 7 of 16.
Those two extra free throws, which came in the game’s last minute, made all the difference.
The Bulldogs, Wolters said, did just enough to get it done and pull it out.
With the win, the Bulldogs will play again Friday and Saturday.
“That’s what we said, the best part is we got one under our belt, then we get two games no matter what, and we’re probably not going to play that bad again, hopefully,” Wolters said.
It was probably the team’s worst performance of the season, Wolters said.
“We haven’t been in a game like that this year,” Wolters said. “Our closest game was probably 10 or so, and that coming down to the wire was probably good for us, but we’d rather it have been half way through the year instead of in crunch time.”
Osborne Senior Darnell Halloway had a game-high 17 points for the Bulldogs. Junior Steele Wolters also hit double-figures, scoring 15 points.
For the Wolves, junior Kaden Ott had a team-high 11 points and a game-high 15 rebounds in the loss.
Lebo finishes the season 18-6.
Osborne will play the St. John-Hudson Tigers in a game scheduled for 4:45 p.m. Friday. The Tigers beat Hanover 53-48 Thursday.