By Russ Green-Sports Editor
The Norborne Pirates would not let Hardin-Central pull too far away Saturday night in the third-place game of the CLAA Tournament at Tina-Avalon. However, the Bulldogs had a little bit more firepower in a 64-51 win over the Pirates. The Dawgs, now 16-7, were shaking off a heartbreaking 60-55 double-overtime loss to second-seeded Southwest on Thursday night.
Colton Layman and Clif Kugler led the Bulldog effort Saturday night in a packed Tina-Avalon gym. Layman connected on four 3-point buckets on the way to scoring a team-high 17 points, while Kugler recorded a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Layman also dished out a team-high 5 assists for the Dawgs.
Layman hit back-to-back treys as the first quarter closed to give Hardin-Central an 18-13 lead. Norborne, now 12-12, battled back to take its final lead of the game on Jacob Uribe’s 3-pointer with just over 3 minutes remaining in the half. However, Hardin-Central came back to take a 31-25 lead into the intermission.
The Bulldogs opened the second half on a 14-0 run before Tyler McNelly, who ended the game with 19 points to lead the Pirates, ended the drought with 2:11 to play in the quarter. Norborne cut the deficit to 45-31 entering the fourth quarter.
Each time the Bulldogs would try to pull away in the final frame, Norborne would answer, but Hardin-Central hit 13 of 20 free throws in the fourth quarter to keep the Pirates at a distance.