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Golden Eagles Soar Past Pups 69-64 to Advance to District Championship

Alliance, OH- In sports, it's difficult to beat the same opponent twice in a season, even more rare to capture the feat a third time in one campaign. That is what the Canton McKinley Bulldogs set out to do Thursday evening at Alliance High School in the Division 1, Region 2 district semifinals against Federal League foe the GlenOak Golden Eagles. In the teams two regular season tilts, the Bulldogs were victorious at GlenOak in a 64-61 overtime game back in December, and again came away with the win in their rematch in late January, this time taking home a 65-59 decision.


The Golden Eagles hoped to erase those two defeats with a tournament victory and a date with the Louisville Leopards in the District Championship. There are few certainties in life, but one of them is when Federal League opponents square off, a white knuckle evening is about to unfold.


Both teams get ready for the opening tipoff of Thursday nights game. (Photo: Derek Dimit)


It was both teams post players who handled a majority of the scoring in the opening frame, with McKinleys Junior Forward Reed Sims Jr. accounting for 7 of the Bulldogs 13 first quarter points. For the Golden Eagles, it was Sophomore Reese Zerger who led the Eagles with 7 as well of their 15.


The 2nd quarter featured much of the same back and forth action as the 1st quarter had. This time it was guard play that 'stole the show'. For the Golden Eagles it was Senior Jaylen McElroy who had 10 for the quarter, using his speed and shiftiness to drive to the hoop for numerous shots near the rim. For McKinley it was Sophomore reserve guard Javeion Carter who paced the pups with 8 in the period. The Bulldogs held a slim 3 point lead at the midway point, 33-30.



There was an uptick in the pace of play in the 3rd quarter, as the game remained a one possession affair with McKinley clinging to a one point advantage after 32 minutes of play. It was Sims Jr. again leading the way with a balanced attack of paint scoring as well as a few from beyond the arc. After McElroy had to come out with roughly 3 minutes to play in the quarter after picking up his 4th foul, it was Sophomore reserve guard Issa White who drained two huge triples to keep the Golden Eagles on the tail of the Bulldogs.


The final quarter featured Senior guard Ja'Corey Lipkins and Zerger taking control on the offensive end for GlenOak, with each having 7 points in the quarter to lead the way to victory. The Bulldogs weren't able to execute down the stretch and were forced into a few turnovers to allow the Golden Eagles to ice the game from the charity stripe.


With the victory, the Golden Eagles now face the Louisville Leopards Saturday afternoon from Harry Fails Gymnasium inside Alliance High School. Tip-off for that Distrct Championship bout is set for 2:00 pm.





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