By JASON EPP
Leader & Times
BEAVER, Okla. — In recent seasons the Forgan Bulldogs have been a dominant team in the state of Oklahoma and as a part of that, have dominated their closest rival Beaver. But Friday night looked like a return to some of the 'Six-Mile War' battles of the past until foul trouble derailed a Duster upset bid, and Forgan pulled away for the 62-47 victory.
Earlier in the season Forgan had pummeled Beaver by 35 points, but Friday night's game was just a four-point game heading into the fourth quarter.
"I thought Beaver competed really well and played extremely hard," Bulldogs coach Todd Kerr said. "I thought defensively we were really poor. Our effort and energy level was not very good. Beaver was prepared and outplayed us most of the night. We didn't play at the level that's expected."
The game's intensity was stepped up a notch with just over six minutes left in the third quarter when Forgan's Jace Kerr drove the right side of the lane, made a layup, and then landed hard on the court. No foul was called on the play, but Forgan coach Todd Kerr argued that a push had caused the hard fall until he was called for a technical foul.
Gunhar Martin stepped to the line and made both technical shots to cut the Bulldogs lead to three (29-26) with 6:18 still left in the third.
And while the play seemed to step up Forgan's intensity at both ends of the floor, Beaver continued to be able to get shots in the lane and get Garrett Weber to the free throw line.
"We tried to change the tempo and change some things up on offense to give them a different look and see if we could hang with them," Dusters coach Craig Schlessman said. "It's an evolution of the offense and it will continue to evolve as we add more. We also rebounded better than the last game."
On the other side, it was Jace Kerr who set the pace for the Forgan Bulldogs with 13 of his game-high 27 coming in the critical third quarter.
But even with Kerr's big quarter, a banked in 3-pointer by Beaver's Dillon Cain with 1:15 left in the third cut the Bulldogs lead to four. That was when disaster struck for the Dusters.
Weber, who had scored 23 points at that point in the game, was called for his fourth foul with 44.5 seconds left in the quarter.
Forgan's Trevin Lopez nailed a three just over a minute into the fourth quarter to put Forgan up 47-40. Weber was back in the game at that point, but not for long. He was called for his fifth with 6:30 still left in the game.
Forgan then went on a 12-2 run to put the game out of reach.
"When he got his fourth foul it hurt us," Schlessman said. "When he was out we felt it. We put him back in but it didn't pay off because he fouled out pretty quickly."
Back in the first quarter, it was Weber who had the hot hand, scoring 12 of the Dusters 13 first quarter points. It kept Beaver close, but they still trailed 17-13 at the end of the period.
Weber's basket with 5:10 left in the second quarter left the two teams knotted at 17. Forgan responded and led 25-20 at the half.
Three Forgan Bulldogs finished in double figures. Jace Kerr was 12 of 23 from the field and 2 of 4 at the line to score his 27. Chandler Bryer scored 13, and Trevin Lopez added 10.
Garrett Weber was 9 of 14 from the field, and 5 of 9 at the charity stripe for 23. Gunhar Martin was the next highest scorer for the Dusters with six.
Beaver will travel to Tyrone Tuesday. Forgan will take on Sharon-Mutual Thursday at 11:30 a.m. in the first round of the Oil Center Classic in Woodward.