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Cardinals slow down Bears, 55-42

BRIDGE CITY – Controlling the game for almost the entire 32 minutes, the Bridge City Cardinals strolled past the Little Cypress-Mauriceville Bears 55-42 in District 22-4A play in front of a big crowd at Cardinal Gym Friday night.

The Cardinals (12-19, 2-8) led the Bears ( 15-15, 4-5) at the end of every quarter, building up several double-digit leads and then holding off a few LC-M rallies to snag the win.

The Cardinals led by as much as 36-22 in the third quarter before the Bears staged a 10-4 run to trim it to 40-32 entering the fourth quarter.

The Bears got as close as 40-34 with 6:50 remaining on a drive and bucket by Ben Elliott.

The Cardinals then took control the rest of the way, finishing with a 15-8 flurry thanks to great free-throw shooting.

The Cardinals canned 16-of-20 free-throws for the night but put the game away by going 13-of-14 in the final quarter.

Cardinal guard Austin Richardson, who had a game-high 22 points and a game-hight seven rebounds, was a perfect 6-of-6 from the line in the last eight minutes while teammates Ethan Oceguera, Grant Boudreaux and Ray Epperley went 7-of-8 from the charity stripe to ice it.

Richardson and Boudreaux both canned three three-pointer apiece for the Cardinals.

Boudreaux finished with 17 points and six rebounds. Oceguera filtered in 10 points.

Jackson Smith had 11 points for the Bears, eight of them coming in the first half. Elliott finished with 10 points while Jesse Doucette had 11, nine of them coming after intermission.

Smith and Ethan McCollum led the Bears with four rebounds apiece.

The Cardinals snared a 14-11 edge at the end of the first quarter as Boudreaux had a big three-pointer near the end of the period.

Richardson and Oceguera teamed up for 11 points in the quarter while Smith scored six for the Bears.

Bridge City went on a 15-8 spurt in the second quarter that enabled the Cardinals to a 29-19 lead at intermission.

Richardson ripped a pair of long-range treys in the quarter while Boudreaux had five points.

The Bears outscored the Cardinals 13-11 in the third with Doucette leading a rally with seven points. Boudreaux had seven in the quarter for the Cardinals with a couple big drives late that helped fend off the Bears.

The Cardinals finished with a 27-21 rebounding advantage. LC-M finished with 11 turnovers while the Cardinals had 10. LC-M was 11-of-18 from the free-throw line.

The Cardinals will venture to Lumberton Tuesday while the Bears return home to face West Orange-Stark.

In other 22-4A action Friday, the Hamshire-Fannett Longhorns (21-11, 4-6) stunned first-place Silsbee (17-12, 8-1) 72-65 and second-place Hardin-Jefferson (24-9, 9-1) downed WO-S (13-19, 2-7) 87-68.