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CARROLLTON - After earning two consecutive victories, the Carrollton Hawks couldn’t end 2018 on a high as they fell to the Buffalo Tri-City Tornadoes 65-56 in the Waverly Holiday Tournament consolation championship on Saturday afternoon.

The Hawks trailed the Tornadoes for the vast majority of the game. Despite getting to within one possession, they couldn’t get over the hump when it mattered the most.

“I give coach Dilley a lot of credit,” Carrollton head coach Matt Goetten said. “His guys came locked and loaded and ready to play. We had a good chance today if we came in locked and loaded defensively. We had some early missed opportunities defensively. The pressure just wasn’t there.”

Carrollton trailed 43-35 entering the fourth quarter but cut the deficit to one at 46-45 with 5:21 remaining in the game. Tri-City managed to break to their full-court pressure, get fouled, and made 12-of-16 free throws down the stretch. During that time the Hawks struggled to shoot mid-to-long-range shots and as Goetten put it “made silly turnovers.”

“It came down to valuing possessions. We get it down to two or three and then just stop valuing possessions,” Goetten said. “We take a bad shot. We turn the ball over in ways that it shouldn’t be turned over. Until we figure out what’s causing that, this will be the result.”

The Hawks finished 2-2 over four days and now stand with a 5-7 record.

Hunter Flowers finished with a team-high 17 points, and Gabe Jones followed with 15 and battled with foul trouble for most of the game before ultimately fouling out. Ethan Brannan added 12 points, and Jacob Graner chipped in eight.

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Tri-City improves their record to 7-6.

Dylan Cox had a game-high 19 points, and Logan Dilley added 13.

Carrollton trailed 18-11 after the first quarter ended and Goetten wasn’t pleased with his team’s cohesion early one.

“We started with a couple of players that didn’t listen to the game plan and just do what they want to do. Until we correct that it’s going to be the outcome,” Goetten said. I thought we came out flat. We didn’t execute defensively.”

Through the next two-quarters Tri-City got the lead to as big as nine, but Carrollton managed to keep the deficit within single-digits but never under six points. With 0.9 seconds left in the first half, Flowers got a steal at half court, drove to the basket and dunked the ball with two hands. However, he hung on the rim and, which is a technical foul. The Tornadoes made both free throws to make it 30-24 at going into halftime.

The Hawks made an improvement from a year ago at Waverly as they roughly had a 26-hour stay before being knocked out after two games. This year they managed to beat South County 63-43 and Greenfield-Northwestern 69-42 while losing to Tri-City and Routt (62-48).

“That’s what we expect at Carrollton High School as we’ll be playing on the last day, but we’d like to be on the other side of the bracket,” Goetten said. “You are where you are so let’s take advantage of the opportunities you have. It’s a consolation championship, but it would’ve been nice to go home 3-1 because there’s only two other teams that can say that in this tournament.”

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