The visiting Edgewood Bulldogs took control from the outset in their 68-54 victory over the Alba-Golden Panthers Friday, Feb. 8. The Panthers, who needed a win to secure a play-off berth, had one last chance on Tuesday to pick up that win in their final game of the season at Rains High School.
Eleven Alba-Golden first quarter turnovers derailed the Panthers from the start. They opened the night with an offensive foul, a double dribble, and a turnover in the back court against the Edgewood zone press.
Three Bulldog 3-pointers and easy finishes at the basket as a result of back court turnovers built a 23-7 Edgewood lead at the quarter break. For the home team, Mason Ragsdale, Zane Smith and Jon-Michael Chadwick scored in the opening quarter.
After hitting their initial shot of the second quarter to stretch the lead to 19 points, Edgewood fell cold. Alba-Golden took advantage. Chadwick took a loose ball the length of the court and finished at the rim. Tom Mitchell hit a 3-pointer, and a beautiful assist from Chadwick to Smith closed the gap to 11 points mid-way through the second.
Edgewood outscored Alba-Golden 13-6 in the final minutes of the first half to take a 39-21 lead at intermission. The Bulldogs scored in a variety of ways: fast breaks, give and go, long range, short jumpers off penetration. After a brief lull, they had found their game again.
The Panthers were in a deep hole coming out for the second half. An initial bucket by Chadwick was exactly what Alba-Golden needed, but the visitors answered with a 3-pointer and a three-point play. So the quarter went. Every time the Panthers looked to make a move, the Bulldogs upped the ante. It was a 20 point game after three quarters.
It remained a 20 point margin until four minutes to play when Alba-Golden made a late push. Largely on the offensive strength of Chadwick and Smith, the Panthers closed to 11 points with just a minute left to play. It was too late, as Edgewood took the game 68-54. Of note, Chadwick finished with 28 points on the night for the Panthers.
The Bulldogs certainly looked in playoff form. Senior center Sean Joyce and senior guard Brayden Allen each had stand-out performances.