When one hears their number four-ranked team, the Crusaders, is going to play at sub-state against the number one-ranked team, the Bulldogs, the movie “Rocky” might come to mind.  The classic underdog story is what one likes to think of in moments like this.  One hopes that the team will surmount the odds and surprise everyone.  It just did not happen for the Crusaders Friday night against the Arkansas City Bulldogs. The Crusader boys fought hard against the Bulldogs, but just could not overcome their passing and shooting skills.  It marked the end of the season for the boys.    
Starting things off, the Bulldogs had the ball, but the Crusaders managed to score the first basket.  In a show of force that determined how the night would go, the Bulldogs promptly earned points of their own.  A.J. Wilson tied the game for the Bulldogs at 2-2.  With six minutes left in the first quarter, the Bulldogs took the lead with two baskets from the free-throw line with a score of 4-2.  It was Cevin Clark who scored another two for the Bulldogs that gave them a lead of 8-2 before the first time out was called.  
It was De’Andre Washington who scored the first three-pointer for the Crusaders that helped narrow the Bulldogs’ lead of 8-5.  With four minutes remaining, Jihad Mutazammil tied it for the Crusaders at 8-8 with another three-pointer.  It was the last point in the game the score would ever be this close.  A rapid flurry of shots from the Bulldogs, including three from Cooper Pierce, gave them a sizable lead over the Crusaders of 16-8, with less than three minutes remaining in the first quarter.
Ian King managed to get one in from the free-throw line for the Crusaders to have the score at 16-9 with two minutes remaining in the quarter.   As the seconds ticked off to the end of the first quarter, the Crusaders made another two points, but it was a last second three-pointer by Nathan Spencer for the Bulldogs that left the score at 21-11.
Going into the second quarter, it was clear the Crusaders were going to have to scramble to win it.   It was Joe Ybarra who scored three for the Crusaders to make it 22-14 with seven minutes remaining in the half.  His teammate, Ian King, chipped in with a pair of shots a moment later to make it 22-18, with the Bulldogs still in the lead.  
A.J. Wilson got in another two for the Bulldogs to make it 24-18, with 4:11 remaining in the half.  Joe Ybarra shot from the free throw line and scored on his second attempt to make it 24-19.  At this point, the gap was still fairly close for the Crusaders.  It was so close, but they just could not manage to surpass it.  The Crusaders were being outshot and out-maneuvered by the Bulldogs, who were living up to their name, and playing rather ferociously.  With the rough contact between the team, the fouls were piling up with the Crusaders barely ahead of the Bulldogs in that tally of 7-6.  
As the first half began to draw to a close, the Bulldogs had a few surprises left.  Jordan Wilson actually slam-dunked his shot to make it 29-19, making it a ten-point game.  Cooper Pierce managed both of his shots from the free-throw line, while A.J. Wilson made an almost literal last-second three-pointer to the shock of the crowd.  By the time the dust cleared, the Bulldogs lead decisively 34-19 at the end of the first half.  
A.J. Snipes got things off to a great start in the second half for the Crusaders with a quick two points to make it 34-21. Nathan Spencer scored another two for the Bulldogs to make it 36-21 with six minutes remaining in the third quarter.  Snipes soon scored again for the Crusaders to make it 36-23, but the Bulldogs quickly responded with another two points of their own.   
Coming back out onto the court after a time-out, the Crusaders were still going to give it their best shot, no matter the odds.  They were down, but they were still putting up the best fight they could give the Bulldogs.  A.J. Snipes delivered a series of baskets against another onslaught from the Bulldogs, with the score being 44-27 with less than two minutes remaining in the quarter.  
The final stretch was upon the Crusaders and the Bulldogs.   A.J. Snipes made it 51-31 for the Crusaders, a now-twenty-point margin. A.J. Snipes made his basket from the free-throw line to make it 56-32, but it was another series of shots from the Bulldogs, including shots from O’Toole and Cevin Clark, that gave them a now thirty-point lead of 62-32 with 4:25 remaining in the game.  
 In the end, the onslaught of the Bulldogs came to an end as the final quarter played out.  The score was 65-34.   It was the end of a terrific season for them and they should be very proud of what they accomplished. Both A.J. Snipes and Ian King, 2018 Seniors, went out on a high.   In the career scoring category, it's (1) Darin Miller with 1401, (2) A.J Snipes 1153 and (3) Ian King 1104.
WHS 34 ACHS 65 (6-15) (3-6)
AJ Snipes 11, Ian King 9, DeAndre Washington 5, Joe Ybarra 4, Jihad Mutazammil 3, Silas Popplewell 2