Bulldogs defeat host Wildcats for Montgomery County tournament title, wins third in four years


The Mexico boys came back to win in the Montgomery County Basketball Invitational semifinals on Thursday and did the same for a championship on Saturday. After the No. 1 seed Bulldogs defeated Hermann on Thursday after trailing 28-26 at halftime, they came back from a 28-22 deficit against the host and No. 2 Wildcats to win 58-54 and earn  their third Montgomery tournament title in four years. Mexico took advantage with a 23-11 third quarter and then Jaydon Eldridge and Charlie Fisher each knocked down two free throws in the fourth quarter (following a 4-for-18 night at the line through three quarters) to seal the game.

"We told them at the half, 'Take it in two-minute segments from the start of the third,'" head coach Darren Pappas said. "We want to win the first two minutes and then the next two minutes."

DJ Long was named to the all-tournament team after finishing with 29 points, six assists, five steals and five rebounds in the game and averages of 17.7 points, five assists and 3.3 steals in three tournament games. 

"We defended well in the second half," Long said. "We stopped dribble drives and shots like that. We started knocking down a couple 3s, which is our game."

PJ Perkins finished with six points and 11 rebounds, with eight of the boards happening in the second half.

"In the first half, I had three fouls, and I didn't play that much," Perkins said. "I had to do something for my team. I came out and fought hard and got the rebounds for my team. That's all that mattered."

Fisher finished with eight points, two 3-pointers and hit his two free throws that made it 58-54 with about five seconds left. Jaydon Eldridge hit his free throws earlier to make it 56-52 and had seven rebounds along with a fourth quarter 3-pointer.

"We knew we could win," Fisher said. "We came in here with the mindset that we're going to win and we are the better team."

Look for the full story in the Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2023, edition of the Mexico Ledger.