This article was originally published by Four Points Press on January 18, 2022.
The Hardin Bulldogs used a strong fourth quarter to derail the Laurel Locomotives, 58-51, resulting in Laurel’s first conference loss of the season.
The teams traded buckets throughout the first three quarters of the game, as neither team could get a big lead. Bryson Rogers scored a jumper on the first possession before Laurel grabbed a quick 8-4 lead.
Elias Stops At Pretty Places regained the lead for the Bulldogs but that was short lived after Laurel hit from downtown but Stops At Pretty Places matched the basket and it was a back and forth affair through the next two quarters.
Jadence Archilta scored on his first possession in the game, seeing his first minutes on the season after his hardship transfer to the Hardin program was approved to make it 18-17 late in the first. Laurel gained another four-point lead early in the second before a Keenan Wuttunee basket sandwiched by two three-pointers from Troy Hugs that gave the Bulldogs a 26-24 advantage.
Laurel led 31-30 at the halftime break. Hance Three Irons was a man on a mission in the second half as he scored 10 points in a row for the Bulldogs, his 10th point tied the game at 40 early in the fourth.
The Bulldogs went on a 12-0 run to start the fourth, including a rare four-point play from Rogers. Troy Hugs scored a breakaway basket to force a Loco timeout with 4:21 left in the game which resulted in a Bulldog lead of 50-40.
Laurel scored to cut the lead to single digits, but Wuttunee was found under the basket on two occasions to make it a 12-point game.
Hardin held on to win the game, 58-51, to improve to 2-2 in conference and 6-4 overall. Hardin will host Miles City on Thursday, Jan. 20 before traveling to Livingston on Friday, Jan. 21.