It appeared at times during the first half of Friday night’s game that Jasper’s Terrien Collins was draining 3-pointers from just inside the halfcourt line.

And when he wasn’t, Jermario Thomas was.

As a result, a short-handed Carthage squad found itself on the short end of the score both at the half and heading into the fourth quarter.

But the Bulldogs picked up the defensive effort and Nick Stewart took over on offense with 12 fourth-quarter points as Carthage picked up a 73-65 come-from-behind win in Bulldog Gym to stay perfect in District 20-4A play.

The Bulldogs are now 9-1 on the season and 6-0 in district while Jasper is now 16-6 and 1-4. Carthage has already clinched a share of the title and can clinch it outright on Tuesday in Huntington.

“I don’t know if I have been more proud of a team than I am tonight,” Carthage Coach Charley Tucker said. “I think this group showed their championship mentality and their toughness and grit. We were short-handed by two players going into this game. That hurt our depth a little and some of our guys had to play more minutes than normal.

“Nick had a monster game scoring and hit two huge 3’s to completely change the momentum.”

Despite Collins’ long-range shooting, the Dawgs led for most of the opening period, But the two teams were tied at 20-20 as Collins hit one more 3-pointer just before the buzzer.

The visitors gradually started pulling away thanks to 3-pointers from Collins and Thomas, going up by 11 before Stewart made it a nine-point game, 41-32, at the half.

Collins had 20 points at the half with six 3-pointers.

The lead grew to 13 early in the third quarter before the Dawgs started their comeback with De’Aundrey Bowman, Montrel Hatten and Kelvontay Dixon scoring.

Owens hit back-to-back baskets, Bowman hit a 3-pointer, Stewart took a charge from Collins and Owen scored to make it a 54-50 game with one quarter left.

Collins only hit one 3-pointer in the third.

It was 2 1/2 minutes into the final period before anyone scored, but Stewart hit a pair of 3-pointers and the Dawgs were on top. Collins gave Jasper the lead back with his eighth 3, but Owen hit free throw to tie it; Kevonte Brown-Hoskins and Hatten both scored to make it a four-point game.

Bowman would foul out, but Jasper only hit one free throw. Owens converted a three-point play and Hatten scored on a fastbreak to make it 66-58 with 2:28 left.

Jasper made it a 66-62 game, but that was as close as they would get as Stewart hit six straight free throws and Dixon hit two as well. Collins did hit another 3, but it wasn’t enough.

Stewart finished with a team-high 29, while Owens had 14, Bowman had 13, Hatten had 10, Dixon had three, Lynch had two and Marry had 2.

“Quinton had a good game scoring to go along with his rebounding,” Tucker said. “Trip (Bowman) got the team going with his relentless play. Moochie (Dixon) played unbelievable defense on Collins and Hatten finally relaxed and started playing basketball. He also took the onus on himself and wanted to guard the other shooter from Jasper (Thomas) and did a heck of a job.

“I can’t go without mentioning Nate and Kavonte Brown. They gave us some good minutes as well and contributed to this victory. Freddy Lynch hasn’t played much this season but when is number was called he stepped up. I’m really proud of this group. We clinched at least a share of the district championship tonight, but we are one win away from the No. 1 seed and that is what we have our sights set on.”

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