Justin Dugan (right) puts up a shot during the fourth quarter of the Craig Middle School-Little Snake River School seventh grade basketball game Thursday at CMS. Dugan had twelve points to lead the Bulldogs, including the game-winning shot in a 26-25 thriller.

Photo by Nate Waggenspack

Justin Dugan (right) puts up a shot during the fourth quarter of the Craig Middle School-Little Snake River School seventh grade basketball game Thursday at CMS. Dugan had twelve points to lead the Bulldogs, including the game-winning shot in a 26-25 thriller.

Craig Middle School takes down LSRV

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A Craig Middle School eighth-grader drives past his defender from Snake River during the eighth-grade game Thursday night at CMS. The Bulldogs pulled away early and won over a tough Rattlers team, 28-22.

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Results from Craig Middle School's Thursday night games against Little Snake River Valley School in Craig:

7th-grade game

CMS — 26

LSRV — 25

8th-grade game

CMS — 28

LSRV — 22

It was another double-victory night for Craig Middle School basketball, but this time it did not come easy.

CMS seventh and eighth grade basketball teams took on their counterparts from the Little Snake River Valley School Thursday in Craig. The Bulldogs emerged on top from two heated games.

The seventh grade team, had to mount a furious rally to come from behind in the second half. After a quarter, the teams were tied at six and looked evenly matched. But in the second quarter, the Rattlers took over, hitting several outside shots and bothering the Bulldogs on defense.

Snake River guard Riggen Myers was particularly good, scoring six of his 12 points in the quarter to help the Rattlers to an 18-10 halftime lead.

Coach Justin Folley praised Snake River’s effort.

“Baggs is always tough,” he said. “They always have kids that can dribble, kids that can shoot. Defensively, they had us rattled a little bit. We were able to make the adjustments at halftime.”

CMS ratcheted up its defensive effort in the second half, forcing a host of turnovers and getting more baskets to fall on offense. After closing the gap slightly in the third quarter, the Bulldogs defense shut Snake River down and made it a down-to-the-wire affair in the fourth.

Justin Dugan gave CMS its first lead since the first quarter when he converted a layup with less than two minutes remaining to make the score 26-25. That was still the score when the buzzer sounded, as the Bulldogs defense held Snake River to a three-point quarter.

It was a change made by Folley at halftime, applying more pressure on the LSRV ball-handlers.

“We changed our defense from zone to man,” Folley said. “We need to work on communicating a little bit, but we made the adjustments at half. That’s one thing all these kids can do, is listen and adjust. They pick it up real quick.”

The eighth grade game looked like it would once again be one-sided, when the Bulldogs came out with full court pressure and took an 8-0 lead in the first quarter. CMS’s size in the halfcourt defense also bothered the Rattlers, as they managed just four points at halftime and nine by the end of the third quarter.

It was a performance coach Drew Morris loved to see.

“That’s the first four quarters we’ve played that aggressively on defense this year,” Morris said. “The press created a lot of turnovers and we hope to use that in the future to our benefit.”

The Snake River guards would not be shut down for good, though. With the game seemingly in hand, multiple Rattlers found their stroke in the fourth quarter, knocking down shots and pulling to within four at one point.

But Keenan Hildebrandt and the Bulldogs hit a couple jumpers of their own, and stayed ahead for a 28-22 victory.

The baskets were a nice surprise to Morris, who knows his team is looking more for the fast breaks and layups.

“We got lucky with a couple jump shots, which we’ll always take,” he said. “It’s always good when shots are going down for you.”

Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 875-1795 or nwaggenspack@craigdailypress.com. Follow Craig Daily Press sports coverage on Twitter at @CDP_Sports.

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