Bulldogs defeat Cougars in 72-71 SWC thriller

Ryan Pittman (1) goes up for two of his 10 points in Bunnell High’s 72-71 win over Kolbe Cathedral on Wednesday night.
(Photo by Bill Bloxsom)

Ryan Pittman knocked down a 3-pointer off an assist from Issac Vann to give Bunnell High a 72-70 lead with one minute remaining, and coach Pat Yerina’s Bulldogs held off Kolbe Cathedral by a score of 72-71 to win the SCC boys basketball showdown at the Dog Pound in Stratford on Wednesday night.
Bunnell improved to 15-2, while Kolbe dipped to 11-4.
Vann finished with 34 points in a game that was tied on 10 occasions.
The final deadlock came at 68 on the first of a made pair of Vann free throws.
Kolbe’s Tavivon Jones followed with a brace of his own to set up Pittman’s go-ahead trey.
Kolbe had possession of the ball three times in the final 51 seconds, but Vann blocked a shot and the Cougars’ made only 1-of-3 chances from the foul line.
Bunnell missed the front end of two one-and-ones in the same stretch, but Jones’ desperation heave at the buzzer was way off the mark.
Matt Nolting scored 18 points and Pittman 12 for Bunnell.
Chris Williams led Kolbe with 20 points, followed by Ian Gardner and Jones with 15 and Donell Stephenson with 10.
Kolbe took a 23-14 lead after one period, as five players scored four-plus points.
Vann had 11 points and Nolting a 3-pointer on the first of only two shots in the quarter.
Bunnell did a better job locating its shooters in the second stanza, and the Bulldogs took a 40-39 lead into the half.
Nolting scored eight points, Vann and Pittman seven each, and Claude Joseph (four points) and Devon Thompson provided key plays off the bench.
The third quarter featured seven straight points for Bunnell by Vann, before Pittman found Nolting cutting to the hoop to tie the game at 49 with 4:20 left in the period.
Pittman blocked a shot and Vann gave it up quickly on a deep pass to Nolting for a one-point lead, before Vann scored in transition for  55-52 lead going into the final frame.

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