Little went right from there, though, as Bowdon would go on to lose, 65-48, and will now face Villa Rica on Monday at 2:30 p.m.
After J.J. Beasley’s lay-up made it 40-33, the Red Devils wouldn’t score another point for more than nine minutes, surrendering an 18-0 run to the Tigers before Avery Cheeks’ lay-up with two minutes remaining in the contest cut Bowdon’s deficit to 51-42.
Amazingly, the Red Devils still had a slight chance of winning during the final two minutes in spite of their long drought. Darious Moten’s basket with 1:35 left cut it to 52-44, and after a missed free throw by Cleburne County, Bowdon could have made it even closer on the ensuing possession. Instead, the Red Devils turned it over.
From there, the remainder of the game was little more than the Tigers marching to the free-throw line and calmly hitting the majority of their free throws to ice the game. The multiple trips to the charity stripe made for an inflated final margin.
After such a good start, Red Devil coach Vic Coggins said the way the game finished was disheartening.
“We did a good job. We executed our gameplan early and took care of the ball. We were very solid as far as doing exactly what we had talked about in the pre-game,” Coggins said. “The fourth quarter we just completely lost focus and stopped playing solid defense and stopped running our offense.”
Beasley led Bowdon with 16 points, with Moten adding 10 and Cedric Strickland pitching in six.
Darren McDaniel’s 19 points led Cleburne County, but Taylor Jones also had a big impact, scoring all 12 of his points after halftime.
Coggins said the result came down to a lack of attention to detail.
“It goes back to fundamentals. That’s what we talk about over and over again, just staying with the fundamentals and executing the gameplan,” Coggins said. “When you get away from that, things like that happen. You have long scoring droughts, and you break down on defense.”
In other tournament action:
Haralson County boys 68, Spring Garden 45: Lance Holland and Will Hilderbrand scored 16 points apiece to lead the host Rebels in their opening-round victory on Saturday, as they jumped out to a 24-9 first-quarter lead and never looked back.
Rebel coach Whitt Brown said it was good for the team to come out in that fashion for the home crowd, which will now get to see his team in the winner’s bracket on Monday night against Alexander at 8:30.
“The home folks haven’t been able to see us in a while and they kind of wanted to see what we had,” Brown said. “We came out and probably played the best, thank goodness, from the opening tip on.”