By Jordan J. Michael
BERNE –– The Bulldogs’ bark had serious bite on Tuesday. The hoopsters from Berne-Knox-Westerlo dismantled Sharon Springs, 87 to 38.
The Bulldogs (4-2) are running with a high-octane offense and tenacious defense this season. BKW is very athletic and lightning quick.
After ending the first quarter with a 19-point lead, the Bulldogs streaked up and down the court for the remainder of the game. BKW had a 62-to-12 lead in the third quarter, never once taking its foot off the accelerator.
Four players scored 10 or more points for the Bulldogs –– Tanner Laurie, Kyle Gibbs, Garrett Pitcher, and Justin Lee –– and 11 of the 12 players scored. Pitcher scored 17 points and Gibbs nailed four three-pointers.
Head Coach Andy Wright couldn’t remember the last time BKW put 87 points on a scoreboard.
“I had a team in 2008 that could fill it up real quick with three-pointers,” he said. “We have lots of offense.”
BKW had numerous steals and an abundance of assists on the offensive end. At times, the passing was like clockwork. Every player was getting involved.
“Personally, it’s tough because you think you can settle down, but it’s important to keep the intensity up,” said Pitcher, a senior, who is about 250 points away from 1,000 for his career. “We were trying to pick up the defense and keep everyone’s blood pressure up. We didn’t want to stop running.”
Sharon Springs (0-5) had trouble. The Spartans have only eight players, and Tyler Bianchine seemed like the only player comfortable with handling the ball. Sharon Springs was a mess, but it kept composure.
“In a game like that, where you want to try and get better, it’s tough to figure out what aspect to focus on,” Wright said. “Sometimes, it gives you a false illusion, like you’re doing things better than you actually might be.”
Sharon Springs was out-sized and out-manned. The Spartans were the cream of the Western Athletic Conference crop just a few years ago.
“I think they’re struggling more this year,” Pitcher said of Tuesday’s opponent. “They’re well coached, at least.”
The only problem for BKW on Tuesday was foul trouble. The Bulldogs ended the evening with 19 fouls.
“My guys are really aggressive on the ball,” said Wright. “It sometimes translates to fouls.”
Any plans on lessening the infractions?
“It depends on who we’re playing,” Wright said. “If you’re aggressive, then it’s going to affect the opponent’s confidence. Nothing is ever going to be uncontested.”
BKW opened its league schedule by dropping 70 points on Mekeel Christian Academy last Friday, but it lost the game by five points. Caleb Stewart scored 37 points for Mekeel, including 18 points from the free-throw line.
“We can’t allow a player to score that much,” Wright said. “We could have won that game, and we had chances to win. But, 55 of Mekeel’s points came from three-pointers and free throws. That can’t happen.”
The Bulldogs will compete for a WAC title, and hope to make some noise in the Class C playoff field, which is a gamble.
“The goal is to keep winning while playing as a team,” Pitcher said. “We want everyone involved and everyone satisfied.”
A 49-point win is very assuring. BKW turned tough defense into easy offense on Tuesday.
“Honestly, I enjoy coaching this team because they’re selfless,” Wright said. “They just want to do well and help each other out.”