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Patriots hold off Bulldogs to advance

Stephanie King

The boys’ edition of the 29th Annual Courier-Tribune Christmas Invitational kicked off on Friday with the Trinity Bulldogs taking on the Providence Grove Patriots in game one. Trinity entered the tournament 5-4 on the season while Providence Grove was 4-7 on the season. These two teams have met once in the regular season with the Patriots coming away with a 36-32 win.

Providence Grove got things started quickly with a three from Questin Overman for an early 3-0 lead. Trinity answered with a putback from Richie Linville to cut the lead to one before Overman drained his second three of the quarter. Ben Owens knocked down the first three of the afternoon for the Bulldogs to trim the lead back to one. Owens scored again on the Bulldogs’ next possession to give them a 7-6 lead over the Patriots. Providence Grove continued to shoot well from three as Michael Fee knocked down the third three of the afternoon for the Patriots to give them a 9-7 lead. A deep two from Owens tied the game at 9-9 before a three from Luke Thomas gave the Patriots a 12-9 lead. A pair of free throws and a baseline reverse from Chris Essick put the Bulldogs in front 13-12 for their last lead of the quarter. Providence Grove scored the last two buckets of the quarter to take a 16-13 lead heading into the second quarter.

Overman kicked off the second quarter the same way he did the first with a three for the Patriots. Linville went two for two at the line to cut the lead to four, but a lay-in from Jonathan Foust extended the lead back to six for the Patriots. Essick scored on a floater and a fadeaway to trim the lead to four before Overman knocked down another bucket for the Patriots. Trinity got a fastbreak lay-in from Owens and a pair of free throws from Luke Gentry to cut the lead to two with less than a minute left on the clock. Dawson Lee hit one of two at the line to give the Patriots a 26-23 lead at the half.

Trinity opened the second half of play with back to back buckets from Linville and Gentry to take a one-point lead over the Patriots. Providence Grove responded with a 10-0 run to take a 36-27 lead midway through the third quarter. Foust scored back to back buckets during the run to help the Patriots. The Bulldogs did not give up as Linville knocked down one at the line before picking up three points the old-fashioned way to close out the quarter. After three complete quarters, Providence Grove led Trinity 36-31.

Jadon Griffith scored the opening bucket of the fourth quarter for the Patriots before Essick drained a three from the corner for the Bulldogs. The Patriots led by six after a bucket from Lee, but Trinity answered with back to back buckets from Essick and Owens to cut the lead to two. Foust scored down low to extend the Patriots’ lead to four but a free throw from Linville cut it to three. Mason Collins led a 6-0 run for the Patriots as they pushed their lead to 48-39. Essick knocked down a jumper and went one for two at the line to cut the lead to six for the Bulldogs. Providence Grove outscored the Bulldogs 3-2 during the final minute of play for a 51-44 win to advance to the semifinals. Providence Grove will face the either Randleman or Eastern Randolph in the semifinals on Saturday at 6:00 PM.

Leading the way for the Patriots was Questin Overman with 15 points. Jonathan Foust finished with 11 for the Patriots, while Mason Collins added seven. For the Bulldogs, Chris Essick led the way with 16 points. Ben Owens notched 11 and Luke Gentry chipped in four.

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