CONCORD, N.C. — In a game loaded with energy, passion, and highlight-reel plays, the Jay M. Robinson Bulldogs topped Cox Mill 71-69.
The Dawg Pound was packed to the rafters with fans and students of both teams, and the performance on the court was most definitely a playoff atmosphere.
Right out of the gate, Cox Mill got things started when Cory Cline drained a three-point shot on the Chargers’ opening possession. Robinson’s Daniel Spencer gave the juiced crowd a little more energy when he tied the game with a three-pointer of his own. Super sophomore Lavar Batts, Jr. made the gym shake just a few moments later when he slammed down an alley-oop from teammate Jordan McKenzie, giving the upstart Bulldogs an 8-5 lead midway through the first quarter. Fittingly, the game was a 21-21 gridlock following the most exciting quarter of basketball of the young season.
Cornell commit Matt Morgan gave Cox Mill a 24-21 lead when he opened the second quarter with a three-point shot. Robinson was able to stay even with the Chargers throughout the second quarter, with neither team leading by more than five points in the frame. Batts, Jr. had a strong second quarter for the Bulldogs, scoring 9 of his 13 points. With less than a minute to go in the first half, Messiah Baptiste gave the Chargers a 44-41 lead going into the locker room, giving the Cox Mill faithful something to holler about through the intermission, much to the chagrin of the home crowd.
As the second half began, Cox Mill’s offense began to sputter a bit, struggling to maintain the lead. Following a Jonathan Earl field goal, Robinson snagged the momentum and went on an impressive 8-0 run to take a five point lead. Messiah Baptiste knocked down a pivotal three-pointer, but the Chargers were unable to take advantage of it, as Robinson rattled off another eight unanswered points for a 59-49 lead. The 16-3 swing in the third quarter would prove to be huge as the game entered the fourth quarter.
Cox Mill battled back into the fourth quarter, going on an 11-0 run to take a 60-59 lead. Unfortunately for the Chargers, the lead was short-lived. Jordan McKenzie gave Robinson a 61-60 lead with a little over seven minutes to go, a lead the Bulldogs would never relinquish. Robinson’s defense locked down the Cox Mill offense, allowing the Bulldogs to hold onto a 70-69 lead entering the final minute. The Chargers had one last chance, but Robinson’s defense forced a Cox Mill turnover with 2.7 seconds remaining to preserve the victory.
Conner Boothe led the Bulldogs, who had four players in double figures, with 20 points. Jordan McKenzie and Daniel Spencer each scored 16 in the victory. Cox Mill also had a 16-points-apiece duo, with Giani Smith and Jonathan Earl.
Cox Mill will look to snap its three-game losing streak when they host Northwest Cabarrus on Friday night in South Piedmont action. Robinson will get a much-needed break following its third game in five days. The Bulldogs will host Myers Park December 8.