Taking advantage of 31 trips to the free throw line, the Hardin-Central Bulldogs fought their way into the Class 1, District 9 semifinals by dropping LaMonte, 79-68.
The third-seeded Bulldogs visited the stripe 31 times Monday night and connected on 21 of them to shake off the stubborn Vikings and advance to a Wednesday night matchup with No. 2 Bosworth at 7:15 p.m.
LaMonte made just 13 trips to the line and picked up 8 points from there, but it was Hardin-Central’s defense that had coach Kirk Thacker concerned.
“We survived a scare and that’s the name of the game at this time,” he said. “I was very disappointed in our defensive effort. We sat back and reacted to what they did instead of forcing them to do what we wanted. We were very lucky to come out with the win.”
The offense, however, was putting together a pretty good night. Patrick King paced the Bulldog offense with 22 points.
Daniel Carpenter added 19 points and was one of three Dawgs to record a double-double with 10 rebounds to go along with 5 steals.
Chris Wilson scored a career-high 18 points and pulled down 11 rebounds, with Mark Carpenter hitting for 15 points and 15 rebounds.
Daniel Carpenter paced the defense with 5 steals, while Mark Carpenter came up with a pair of thefts.
Caleb Waters and Nick Sullivan provided most of the offense for LaMonte as they combined for all but 20 of the Vikings’ point total. Waters hit for a game-high 26, with Sullivan adding 22.
The Bulldogs, now 10-16 for the season, held an 18-9 lead at the end of the first period, but LaMonte battled back to cut the Hardin-Central lead to 31-30 at the half.
The Dawgs held a 52-50 advantage after three periods and outscored the Vikings 27-18 over the final 8 minutes.