Report by Blake Smith
The Melbourne Bearkatz lost a heartbreaker in their first regional tournament appearance in five years Thursday night against the Earle Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs got off to a quick start, opening the night on a 9-1 run, but the Katz proved resilient yet again, fighting back to trim the deficit to 13-11 after one quarter.
The second quarter proved an offensive explosion for Melbourne, outscoring Earle 14-7 in the period, led by Layton Hennings with seven in the frame; the Katz took a 25-20 lead into the halftime break.
The third quarter was back and forth, and Earle cut the Katz’s lead to 38-35 entering the final period of play.
A couple of costly turnovers and defensive possessions allowed the Bulldogs to claw back for a 50-46 victory.
Layton Hennings led the way for Melbourne with 25 points, Roby Cooper added 10. The Bearkatz finish their season at 18-11, a nine-win improvement upon last year’s record.