The Bulldogs played a rare noon game at Melrose on Saturday and caught the Dutchmen napping through most of the first half. Melrose committed 15 turnovers in the first half, as the Bulldogs led 21-20 at intermission.
The game was tied at 34 to start the fourth quarter, but Melrose scored the first five points to take a 39-34 lead. The Bulldogs got within one, at 39-38, and then the teams traded baskets.
Leading 41-40, Dutchman senior Jon Lang hit a three-pointer from the top of the key, which sparked a 13-2 run to end the game. Melrose made a number of free throws in that stretch, and for the game outscored the Bulldogs 22-9 at the free throw line.
The Bulldogs played much better defense against the Dutchmen the second time around. In January, Melrose beat the Bulldogs in Paynesville 82-52. The Bulldogs only allowed 54 points Saturday, but only mustered 42 on offense.
The Bulldogs shot 28 percent from the floor (15 of 53) and 53 percent from the free throw line (9 of 17).
Senior post Ryan Wall led the Bulldogs with 14 points, 13 rebounds, and three blocked shots. Senior Luc Trees added 12 points and had three steals. Junior wing J.T. Koehn led the team with four assists.
The Bulldogs collapsed in the fourth quarter against Albany on Tuesday, Feb. 29. After trailing by two at halftime, the Bulldogs cut the lead to one after the third period. But Albany outscored the Dogs by 14 in the fourth quarter and won by 15, 70-55.
The Huskies had 18 fourth quarter points, and the Bulldogs only four. The Bulldogs made one of 11 shots from the floor and only two free throws in the quarter.
The Huskies, meanwhile, got some momentum early in the quarter when Scott Dirkes, a 6' 3" senior post, scored his 1,000th career point. Dirkes scored 20 in the game, including six in the fourth quarter.
The Bulldogs opened the game with a strong first quarter, taking an 17-16 lead after eight minutes. Passing was key, as Luke Trees had four assists in the first quarter. Junior guard Logan Louis led the Bulldogs for the game with eight assists.
Ryan Wall led the Bulldogs in scoring with 23 points. He also had 15 rebounds.
Playing their last home games as seniors for Paynesville were John Brady, Steve Gilk, Troy Schmidt, Nathan Schutz, Luke Trees, and Ryan Wall.
The loss ended the Bulldogs' regular season with a record of 1-11 in the WCC and 3-19 overall.
The Bulldogs were seeded seventh in the subsection and will play at Annan-dale on Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. If they upset the second-seeded Cardinals of Annandale, they would play either Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted or Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. in Litchfield.
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