The Marianna Bulldogs have dominated the court this year and Malone has had its struggles. Through three quarters Friday night, the visiting Tigers gave the Bulldogs more than they wanted. The Bulldogs wore down the Tigers in the fourth quarter and took a commanding 59-34 lead but after three quarters of play, the story was one of anybody’s game.
The Bulldogs took control in the first quarter with eight points hitting the boards before Malone answered with a basket by Taylor Brown. Marianna had four points from J’Vion Thornton, a three from Zay Peterson, and two points each from Werlean Pollock, Tavis Groomes, and Stefon McMillian in the quarter. Marianna ended the quarter leading 14-3.
In the second period, Malone’s offense came to life, topped off by a three-point buzzer shot from near half court by Odarius Murff that brought the crowd to life. The Bulldogs lead was 23-15 at the halfway point. Keegan Jones posted a pair of threes for Marianna in route to their nine points. For Malone, it was Jarrod Southwell with five, Taylor Brown with four points, and Murff’s three.
The third quarter kept the crowd on their feet. Malone’s Demontrae Decree hit the first basket of the quarter making it a six-point game with Tavis Groomes answering with a point from the charity stripe. Joshua Rivers made it a five-point game with a basket followed by Werlean Pollock moving it to a seven-point advantage for the home team. Curtis Miley added a basket for Malone with Marianna answering with one by Zay Peterson. Nick Pollock went two-for-two from the charity stripe for the Bulldogs before Malone answered with a three by Curtis Miley to make it a 31-24 game. Jarrod Southwell and Taylor Brown had back-to-back buckets to draw the Tigers within five at 33-28 before Werlean Pollock made it a seven-point game again. The quarter ended with Marianna leading by seven, 37-30.
The Bulldogs pulled away in the fourth quarter with nine points from Werlean Pollock and five from Stefon McMillian.
On the night, Malone was led by Jarrod Southwell with 12 points, followed closely by Taylor Brown with 11 points.
Marianna’s workhorse on the night was Werlean Pollock with 13 points, followed by Keegan Jones and Tavis Groomes with eight points each. Stefon McMillion had seven points on the night.