White Hall went toe-to-toe with its final King Cotton opponent for a half Friday morning but couldn’t keep it up the rest of the game.
The Bulldogs fell 64-38 to McDonough (Ga.) to finish the tournament winless at the Pine Bluff Convention Center.
Bulldogs Coach Josh Hayes said after a competitive first half, the Warhawks were more physical than the Bulldogs in the second half.
“The physicality and the pressing, it just bumped us around,” Hayes said. “I think it changed our whole mindset, and I think that was the difference. The first three minutes of the third quarter set the tone for the rest of the game, and I think it was straight physicality.” McDonough (12-2) led 27-25 at halftime but pulled away with a dominant second half. Keenan Gray scored a game-high 22 points, while Nigel Thomas added 12 and Nathadeus Fambro scored 10. The Warhawks shot 51% from the field.
White Hall (7-9) scored 18 points in the second quarter but struggled offensively the rest of the game. Jai’Chaunn Hayes led with 18 points, but no other Bulldog scored more than 7. White Hall made 50% of its shots in the second quarter but were held to 16.1% from the field in the second half.
McDonough led 8-7 after a low-scoring first quarter, but the offenses picked up in the second. The teams traded shots the entire time, leading to seven lead changes and six ties in the second quarter alone. Neither team led by more than 2 points during this stretch, with McDonough leading at halftime after a transition dunk by Keenan Gray and a layup by Nigel Thomas.
Hayes said the Bulldogs played well early and built confidence.
“We made a few shots early on, and we were making stops,” Hayes said. “When we couldn’t score, we were preventing them from scoring. That was the good thing about it. We boxed out a little bit better the first half. It seemed like it was a lid on those rims all three days.” The Warhawks blew the game open in the second half, outscoring the Bulldogs 26-7 in the third quarter. McDonough shot 78.6% in the third, while White Hall made just 2 of 16 shot attempts. Rodney Curtis beat the quarter buzzer with a corner 3-pointer.
McDonough outscored the Bulldogs 11-6 in the fourth to see it out.
The Warhawks finished King Cotton 2-1, all against Arkansas opponents.
With this loss, White Hall has dropped five-straight games, and a tough conference game against Pine Bluff High School is up next. Hayes said the Bulldogs need a few old-school, tough practices over the next week to get ready for the Zebras.
“It’s just bumping guys and boxing them out and holding them off,” Hayes said. “We just don’t do a good job of that, and so I think it’s just getting tougher. Guys gotta look in the mirror, because the formula’s out on what to do to affect us, and it seems like it’s been working for five games in a row. It’s matriculating down out of state. So we gotta get tougher.”