They made it look easy.
The Drexel boys dominated Appleton City 91-34 in the Class 1, District 7 championship game Feb. 23 at Drexel to capture their fourth title in a row.
“I’m speechless,” Drexel senior CJ Bolton said. “It’s our fourth district title in a row. We aren’t done yet until we make it to Columbia and win that. It’s just an honor to make a step in that direction.”
After taking down Northeast Vernon County 114-25 in the first round Feb. 18 and rolling past Ballard 92-19 in the semifinals Feb. 20, the Bobcats were just unstoppable.
“I think it was just because of all of our hard work that we put in,” Drexel senior Cody Russell said. “Other teams really don’t have moments like that. I wouldn’t trade any of my teammates for anything.”
Drexel started things off right with a 22-8 lead at the end of the first quarter and led 52-24 at halftime.
In the third quarter, Bolton put in eight points in a row before Appleton City sunk a free throw to make the score 61-25. Drexel came back with two free throws by senior Trevor Cooley, a basket from junior Javyn Johnston, a shot from Bolton and one from senior Trevor Stewart to make the score 69-25.
After another Appleton City free throw, Johnston sunk a shot and Bolton put in two three-pointers and two baskets before the clock ran out. The last basket with less than 10 seconds left on the clock was Bolton’s 2,000th career point. The crowd erupted into cheers and head coach Dennis Bolton called a timeout so he could hug and congratulate his son.
“It’s pretty sweet,” Bolton said. “I guess now I’m not worried about that. I didn’t even think I was going to get to that this season. It’s not about that, it’s all about the team concept. It doesn’t matter to me that I scored 2,000 points, it just matters to me that we make it to state.”
Drexel led 82-29 going into the final eight minutes of the game.
With the mercy clock running, Drexel still outscored the Bulldogs 9-5 with a free throw and shot by Russell, a basket and free throw from junior London Collins, a free throw from sophomore Jacob Antley and a bucket from Mark Willy to end the game.
The Bobcats were led in scoring by Bolton with 36 points. Johnston added 29 points. Russell had 12 points and Cooley added six. Collins had three points, Willy and Stewart had two and Antley had one point.
“We need to step it up on the defense,” Bolton said. “As you can see, our offense is pretty good, but we need to step it up on our defense.”
“Blocking out is our main thing,” Russell added.
The ever-striving for perfection Bobcats now have a 27-1 record.
“(We are going to) keep putting 100 percent effort into everything,” Russell said. “We are even more dedicated and have the desire and will to win.”
Bolton, Cooley, Johnston and Russell were all named to the first team all-district.