In a nonconference game at Kimball, the Bulldogs, after a slow start against the Cubs' press, seemed ready to mount a charge, cutting the Cubs' lead to four at 25-21, but Kimball outscored Paynesville 18-4 over the rest of the half to lead at halftime, 39-25.
The Cubs continued their run with a 22-10 advantage in the third quarter. The Bulldogs had a 17-13 edge in the fourth quarter to make the final score 74-52.
Turnovers plagued the Bulldogs, as they lost the ball 32 times.
Luc Trees led the Bulldogs with 22 points. J.T. Koehn led Paynesville with eight rebounds, and T.J. Schultz had six rebounds and four steals.
"The team chemistry was much better against Cathedral," said coach Barry Strand. "Definitely, we handled the press much better." The Crusaders press full court and look to run at every opportunity.
The Bulldogs recovered from a slow start against Cathedral, and led after the first quarter 22-21. The Crusaders outscored Paynesville by eight in the second quarter and had a 47-40 advantage at halftime, as the Bulldogs had trouble stopping the Crusaders' fast break and keeping them off the offensive glass.
The Bulldogs' ball control and defense were much improved in the second half, reducing their turnovers and holding Cathedral to 33 points after allowing 47 in the first half. The Bulldogs pulled within five points late in the fourth quarter, but Cathedral made some steals when the Bulldogs rushed to score. Free throws and lay-ups pushed the final margin to 80-69.
Luc Trees led three Bulldogs in double figures with 29 points, on 12-22 shooting, including a trio of three-pointers. He added four steals.
T.J. Schultz added 12 points and five rebounds. Ryan Wall had a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Sophomore Andrew Jones led the team with four assists.
"We got rid of those first game jitters, and I think that had a lot to do with it," said Strand, of the Bulldogs' improved performance at Cathedral.
The Bulldogs hosted Sauk Centre in the first home game last night. They will host Maple Lake tomorrow and BBE on Tuesday, Dec. 21.
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