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LOUISVILLE -- Playing a tall, athletic team such as Doss, every possession counts.
For the North Bullitt Eagles, a magical season came to an end in the first round of the Sixth Region tournament Wednesday night.
It would be a brief series of turnovers in the second and third quarters that would boost the Doss Dragons to a 54-35 victory.
Down 18-16 with 5:35 left in the first half, North Bullitt would commit a pair of turnovers.
At intermission, the lead had grown to 26-20.
But head coach Brian Courtney felt pretty good at intermission.
The key to getting back into the game was to try to rebound the ball and limit the possessions and limit the number of turnovers.
Unfortunately, the turnover bug bit the Eagles to open the third quarter.
Before Courtney could signal a timeout, the Dragons had gone on a 9-2 run.
"We talked a lot about not turning the ball over," said Courtney. "This was not an 18-point loss."
Besides having Tyler Jefferson, at 6-foot-2, and Montrell Little, at 6-6, Doss had size and muscle inside.
Then, the team was loaded with some outside shooting from Terrell Gray and Dujuana Weaver.
'They are a very good basketball team with a lot of talent," said Courtney.
The visiting Eagles got off to a fast start.
Ricky Dunnavan hit one of his two three-pointers on the night and Jarred George, the lone senior, hit a mid-range jumper to put the Eagles on top 5-2.
Dominique Ellis and George also hit three-pointers in the quarter for an 11-7 lead.
North Bullitt held the ball for a final shot in the quarter. However, Weaver stole the ball and slammed home a dunk with 10 seconds left for a 13-11 lead.
On the first play of the second quarter, North Bullitt would take its final lead of the night when Dunnavan connected from long range.
The size and length of the Dragons would take over from that point.
When Ellis rebounded a missed shot with 51 seconds left in the third quarter, North Bullitt pulled to within 39-28.
It wouldn't be that close until 1:47 remained in the game as Dunnavan hit two free throws to make it 46-35.
The Eagles could get no closer.
"They played hard," Courtney said of his team. "They battled all night."
Doss presented big problems for the Eagles. When the Eagle zone packed inside, the outside shooters fired.
And, if the shots were off, the big players inside got the offensive rebounds.
At the same time, at least six North Bullitt shots were swatted away by Dragon defenders.
The strength and length of the Doss defenders also posed another problem for North Bullitt.
With the Fifth Region officials letting the players play, Courtney said his team wasn't physical enough to overcome the defense.
The hope is that the returning players learned from the regional experience and go out and begin getting stronger in the weight room.
"We challenged them to add muscle," Courtney said of the off-season conditioning program.
With the exception of a few turnovers, Courtney felt his team could compete.
In looking at the season as a whole, Courtney said he couldn't be more proud of the team.
"Making it to the regional tournament is great," said Courtney. "Now they have to want to come back and take that next step."
The squad will have everyone back with the exception of George.
"This is a lot of good experience for the players," said Courtney, whose team finished at 22-9. "I think the program is definitely moving in the right direction."
At DOSS HIGH SCHOOL
NORTH BULLITT (11-9-8-7) 35 -- Ricky Dunnavan 9, Zach Gearlds 8, Jarred George 7, Dominique Ellis 7 and Jared Free 4
Doss (13-13-15-13) 54 -- Tyler Jefferson 16, Terrell Gray 12, Montrell Little 11, Dujuanta Weaver 9, Dajon McCarley 3, William Maddox 3