As they have done all year, the Mexico Bulldogs played an exciting game Wednesday night giving their fans a lot to cheer about as they claim the Sectional Championship with 56-52 overtime thriller over the Duchesne Pioneers at Troy Buchanan High School in front of a capacity crowd.
The win improves the Bulldogs to 24-3 and sends them to the quarterfinals Saturday when they will face the Normandy Vikings at 1 p.m., at Francis Howell Central High School in St. Charles.
The Bulldogs got off to a great start as Jon Anderson hit a 3-pointer to start the game and Duchesne answered with a 2 point field goal. Jake Willer heated up in the first with several 3-point field goals. Mexico claimed a narrow 12-11 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter the Pioneers went on a run and led by 6 points. Jake Willer hit back to back 3-point field goals to tie the game. Duchesne then answered and led by five points before Willer got a tip-in rebound at the buzzer to narrow the Duchesne lead to 26-23 at the half.
The Bulldogs went to a match-up zone in the second half and frustrated the Pioneers. The Bulldogs went on a 15-3 run in the third quarter. The big plays in the run were a big 3 by Willer with :28 seconds in the quarter and then Mexico comes up with a big steal. The Bulldogs run the clock down for the last shot and Jake Anderson hits a big 3-point shot at the buzzer to give the Bulldogs the 9-point lead going into the last quarter, 38-29.
Duchesne storms back in the fourth quarter outscoring the Bulldogs 18-9 and notches the game in the regulation at 47-47.
In the OT Jae'on Nunnelly finishes a drive to the basket and gives the Bulldogs a 49-47 lead with 3 minutes left. The possessions went back and forth in the OT period but Willer hit two big free throws to give the Bulldogs a 5-point advantage. The Pioneers convert on a 2-point field goal with 3.3 seconds to play to cut the lead to 3 points again. The Pioneers then called time-out. Coach Scanlon drew up a play and went long with a great pass from Matt Ridgway to Jon Anderson. Anderson was fouled and made the first free throw and missed the second and the Bulldogs claimed the OT victory 56-52.
Willer led the Bulldogs in scoring with 21 points, followed by Jon Anderson with 9, Nunnelly put in 8 points, Cole Jaramillo had 7, Jake Anderson put in 6, and Skylar Harrington had 5 points.
An excited Coach Brennan Scanlon was happy with his team's effort the Bulldogs exhibited in the sectional game.
"We did a great job in the third quarter and were able to make a big run which really was the difference in the game. Willer shot the ball extremely well and Jae'on Nunnelly came up with some big buckets when we needed them down the stretch. Jake Anderson came up with three big blocks in crunch time and saved the possession. We did a great job on their big guys who were averaging double figures for the season," said the MHS coach.
Page 2 of 2 - Scanlon said they are looking forward to Saturday's game.
"We now look to an exciting quarterfinal game with Normandy," commented Scanlon.
SCORE BY QUARTERS and OT
MEXICO INDIVIDUAL STATS
Cole Jaramillo: 7P, 1 steal.
Jake Willer: 21P, 3RB, 2 steals.
Jake Anderson: 6P, 6RB, 3 assists, 1 steal, 5 blocks.
Jae'on Nunnelly: 8P, 2RB, 5 assists, 2 steals.
Jon Anderson: 9P, 1 assist, 1 block.
Matt Ridgway: 2RB, 2 assists.
Skylar Harrington: 5P, 2RB, 2 assists, 3 Steals.