With a showdown looming with Davenport Central on Thursday, the Bettendorf boys basketball team had a tricky road test to pass against Davenport North on Tuesday.
The Class 4A fifth-ranked Bulldogs passed the test by putting up a season-high 79 points led by DJ Carton's 33 to get past the host Wildcats, 79-71, in Mississippi Athletic Conference action.
The win keeps Bettendorf (9-1, 7-1 MAC) on the heels on conference leader North Scott. Bettendorf will host sixth-ranked Davenport Central on Thursday in a game to stay in the hunt for the MAC title.
But first the Bulldogs were able to hold off the Wildcats (5-5, 4-4) by building a big enough lead through the first three quarters. Bettendorf led 15-6 after the first quarter and 36-25 at halftime but used a 29-point third-quarter effort to blow things open and lead 64-43 going into the fourth quarter.
Carton had 10 of his points in the third but Trevor Feller led the way for the visitors in the quarter. The senior scored 11 of his 14 points in the third, including three 3-pointers.
The Bulldogs also got some big baskets from Lucas Hayes, Blake Tyler and Carter Furness as the visitors hit 11 of their 14 shots from the floor in the third quarter. Carton also finished with seven rebounds and seven assists. Hayes chipped in nine rebounds to go with his eight points for the Dogs.
North actually answered with 28 points of its own in the final quarter but it was a little too big of a mountain to climb. Quincy Wiseman led the hosts with 21 points while Jamal Litt and Cory Prather each added 13 points.
Bettendorf coach Curtis Clark was glad to get out of this game with a win as he was not terribly pleased with his team's defensive effort and the Bulldogs' ball-handling ability. Bettendorf finished with 18 turnovers.
"I thought we played hard although I didn't think we played overly smart or executed very well," Clark said. "We did not handle (North's) pressure very well and we have one day to figure it out. Everybody was already talking about the Central-Bettendorf game but I thought we practiced well and prepared well (for this game).
"I didn't think this was necessarily a trap game because I knew Davenport North is a good team. That's why I think we practiced well the last two days because our guys knew that we came here and played a good team. I was happy that we played hard enough and tough enough to beat a good team on the road."
If the Wildcats had hit more shots early on, perhaps, things might have been a little different but the hosts made just two of their 12 field goal attempts in the first quarter to fall behind and North was chasing the game the rest of the way.
Even though the Wildcats had five players finish in double figures in scoring, North coach Joe Ewen said things have to get cleaned up on the defensive side of the ball.
"Defensively, we have almost given up 80 points the last two games and that is not going to get it done," Ewen said. "We know we can score, it's just a matter of getting stops. We cut it to single digits a couple of times but then we could not get another stop."