After the 86-63 loss to Lake Wales, DeSoto County coach Darrel Nicklow told his team that he wasn’t mad at them for the lopsided loss. The Highlanders just had more firepower than the Bulldogs and the game was never in doubt.

What Nicklow did tell the team, however, is this is their opportunity to dictate what kind of season they will have.

“I’m proud of you guys,” he said. “I can’t ever say there is any quit ... in any of you. We were behind by 30 and you could have fallen back into that losing mentality that you used to have. But you came back and battled, and for that I am proud.”

The Bulldogs trailed by 17 at the end of the first quarter and by 20 at the break. They fell behind even further in the third quarter, as the Highlanders were just two buckets away from putting on a running clock.

But the Bulldogs never quit. They battled back against a better team and showed some life, cutting the score to just 14 points difference before a flurry of points at the end made it an 86-63 game.

Nate Maybell led DeSoto with 18 points, including a monster dunk in the fourth period. Arnold Mele scored 14 and Kawassmi Wilson was the only other Bulldog to reach double figures with 10.

The Bulldogs have already doubled their win total from last season. And with their final regular season game of the season at undefeated Port Charlotte tonight, they have the chance to do what no other team has been able to do this season — the Bulldogs gave the Pirates their closest game of the season, as they beat the Bulldogs by three points in the first game.

A victory tonight would put a cherry on top of the sundae for this season.

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