Mike Motz, Sun-Telegraph
After a regular season that included a slow start, and periods of losing streaks, the Peetz Bulldog Boys Basketball team righted themselves at just the right time. After defeating Weldon Valley at home to end their regular season, the Bulldogs entered the 1A District 4 Tournament at NJC on Thursday, February 28, with an opening contest against the 7-and-12 Longmont Christian Warriors.
Both teams opened with strong defensive play while the Warriors opened a 6-to-0 lead early. But Peetz battled back, shut down the Warriors' offense, and put up 11 points to take an 11-to-8 lead at the end of the first period. The second period had the Bulldogs defense playing aggressively and keeping Longmont Christian at bay, while the Bulldogs buried two three pointers and a few more baskets to pull ahead and take a 28-to-21 lead at the half.
The second half had the Warriors trim the Peetz lead slightly, but both defenses dominated play and kept the scoring low. Peetz was able to outlast the Warriors, and ended the game with a 50-to-43 win. Freshman Rhyder Bayne had a stellar performance, scoring 23 points to lead the Bulldogs offense.
Next up was a meeting with Briggsdale, a team the Bulldogs lost to by one point early in February. The Falcons started strong, scoring freely while playing good defense against he Bulldogs. After taking am 18-to-10 lead at the end of the first period, Peetz found their rhythm and started scoring in the second quarter, trimming the Falcons' lead and only trailing by two, 27-to-25, at the halftime break.
It was a strong third quarter and a dominant fourth quarter that sealed the victory for the Bulldogs. After taking a one point lead to end the third period, Peetz went on an offensive tear, putting up 21 points in the final quarter and pulling away from the Falcons for a 62-to-56 victory. Bayne again led the Peetz offense with 22 points in the victory, with juniors Noah Naegele and Chance Segelke scoring 15 and 13 points respectively.
The final game of the tournament had Peetz matching up with rival Fleming, a team they had lost to by 24 points in January. But this time the Bulldogs started hot, and got the jump on Wildcats and opened a five point lead at the end of the first period. The Bulldogs offense surged in the second period while the Bulldog defense clamped down on the Wildcats. Peetz opened a 33-to-16 lead at the half, and then weathered a rally in the third period by Fleming and matched their scoring to remain ahead 50-to-34. Fleming was unable to mount any real challenge in the fourth, and the Peetz boys took the victory 53-to-42 and earned a District Championship. Bayne again had an outstanding game on offense, putting up 31 points in the victory.
Peetz now travels all the way to Sierra Grande on Friday for a Regional matchup. If they win, they will next play the winner of Cheyenne Wells/Centennial on Saturday in Sierra Grande.