HEALDTON — It’s often been said “The harder the struggle, the sweeter the victory.”

HEALDTON — It’s often been said “The harder the struggle, the sweeter the victory.”

For the No. 19 Healdton Bulldogs, Saturday night was more than just any basic struggle, it was a battle with the undefeated No. 18 Fox Foxes for the championship at the Bulldog Bash tournament.

Ultimately, it was the hometown Bulldogs claiming a hard-fought 64-58 victory, handing Fox its first defeat of the season.

The win also marked victory number 202 for Healdton head coach Mike Worsham, who earned his 200th career victory Thursday night in the opening round against Ringling.

“I felt like we held them (Fox) off a little bit,” Worsham said. “They are a well-coached team for sure and have a talented group of underclassmen. They exposed some of our weaknesses for sure though.”

“It was neat getting to celebrate my 200th win,” Worsham added. “But I’ll tell you I’m looking more forward to earning my 100th win as a Healdton Bulldog. Hopefully we get that next week.”

Fox came out strong in the first quarter, jumping out to an early 5-0 lead.

Healdton didn’t take long to respond as the Bulldogs grabbed their first lead at the 4:39 mark of the first quarter at 6-5.

Going into the second quarter, the Bulldogs were hanging on to a 16-11 advantage, but it was anything but safe.

Fox got to within two at 16-14 just 52 seconds into the second quarter, before Healdton began to try and put some distance between itself and the Foxes.

Ultimately, the Bulldogs went into the halftime break with a 29-21 advantage, and came out strong in the third quarter, building up a 12-point lead.

Once again though, the Foxes responded, and went into the fourth quarter with plenty of momentum down just six points at 43-37.

Unfortunately for the Foxes, six points was as good as it got the rest of the way.

The dagger from the Bulldogs came in the form of senior John Scott, who hit back-to-back three point shots in the fourth to take what was a 52-46 Bulldog lead, and turn it into a 58-46 advantage with 3:30 left in regulation.

“I told our kids before this game started tonight to keep working no matter what,” Fox coach Erik Yeiser said. “We wanted to get to the finals and test ourselves against Healdton. I can’t complain about anything we did, it just came down to we didn’t hit shots when we needed to.”

“Down the road, we’re going to face teams who have size on us,” Yeiser said. “We played some good defense tonight and faced the adversity head on, which is what I wanted us to do.”

Denton Miller led the Bulldogs (15-2) with 28 points, followed by John Scott with 12 points and Coty Scott with 11 points.

Fox (15-1) was paced by Drew Martin with 21 points, with Jimmy Bivings scoring 13 points, and David Martin adding 10 points. 

Healdton is at Ringling Tuesday night, while Fox is off until next Thursday, when they will have a rematch with Healdton at the Fox Den.