ICC blasts Bulldogs by 30 points to grab second straight Izard County title
The Cushman Bulldogs were living quite the charmed life during the first two rounds of the annual Izard County Invitational Tournament.
Seeded seventh in the seven-team senior boys' field, the Bulldogs had managed to topple second-seeded Calico Rock in the opening round before slipping past sixth-seeded Mount Pleasant in the semi-final rounds.
But sometimes charms can quickly turn to curses, as Cushman found out in the championship game Jan. 27 at the Bluebirds' Nest in Mount Pleasant.
Matched up against the top-seeded Izard County Consolidated Cougars, who are currently ranked in the Class 1A top five, Cushman had little chance for survival, as the Cougars crushed the Bulldogs 73-43.
The 30-point win gives ICC its second straight Izard County Invitational title.
The contest was a physical affair, with both teams seeing plenty of time at the charity stripe. For the night, the Cougars hit 27 of 41 free throws, 14 in the first half, 13 in the second.
Kyle McCandlis and Joey Stefka made sure Cushman had no thoughts of pulling a third straight upset, as the two Cougar guards set the tone early in the first period.
McCandlis tossed in 10 of his 16 points on the night in the first period, while Stefka knocked in nine of his game-high 20 in the first eight minutes of play.
A putback by Scott Small (eight points) deep in the first helped ICC to a 27-12 lead after one.
Cushman posted just two field goals in the second period, the first one coming at the 3:21 mark, at which point the Bulldogs were in a 40-15 hole.
The Cougars opened the second frame on a 13-0 run.
A layup by Zac DeSanto closed the book on the first half with ICC in total control, holding a 46-18 advantage.
The Bulldogs peeled off seven unanswered points to start the third, but that was small potatoes to the Cougars.
ICC closed the third with a 13-3 blast to take a 65-31 lead into the fourth period, en route to a commanding 73-43 rout of Cushman.
Spencer Caraway tallied nine points for the Cougars, while Gerrick Smith added seven. Steven Walker and Jeremy Burns finished with three points each, with Colton Selph and Michael Beck posting two points apiece. Curtis Clark hit for one point for ICC.