CAMERON - Basketball is a game of runs. Whatever team can make the most runs and can recover from the other team's runs will be successful.
Case in point, Cameron's bout with Bridgeport Tuesday night on the Dragons home court.
The hosts went on a 24-7 run to close out the first half and the Bulldogs never fully recovered, resulting in an 83-78 Cameron victory.
''The second quarter really hurt us,'' Bridgeport coach Donnie Cash said. ''Our effort in the second half was great. We've been coming up short in games where we've been playing hard in four quarters, but tonight the second quarter was the difference.''
After a back and forth first quarter, the Dragons (6-6) trailed the Bulldogs (3-12) by one at 24-23, but that's when the hosts got hot, fueled by six points from Zach Hall, who finished the game with 10.
''Honestly, we wanted to come out and get up by 20,'' Cameron coach Chad Clutter said. ''I told our coaches, be prepared for them to come back and cut it to six or eight (points) sometime in the third quarter and we'll change what we need to do against them.''
Clutter must keep a magic ball around because that's exactly what happened as Bridgeport trimmed the 14-point halftime deficit down to nine heading into the final quarter.
It seemed as though the Dragons would be able to keep the Bulldogs at bay, but that's when the visitors went on a quick 8-0 spurt to get within two at 80-78 with 33 seconds left.
Hunter Chambers' shot on the ensuing possession was blocked by Jon Kreiter, giving Bridgeport back the ball with only seconds remaining, but Dallas Fields couldn't get the ball to drop to tie the game and Logan Routt was fouled as he grabbed the rebound.
''We just have to do the little things better,'' Cash said. ''There was a possession late, they missed a lay-up and not all of our guys sprinted back, and their guy stops at the foul line. Maybe we could have gotten a rebound and that's two points they don't get. It's been the same story every game, but until we learn to do it, it's going to be the same way.''
Fields led the Bulldog's attack with 22 points, while QJ Williams and Parker Dyson ended their nights with 19 and 15 points, respectively.
Mark Walker had a game-high 23 points for Cameron behind five 3-pointers. Routt ended with 16 points, while Hunter Chambers added 12.
Conotton Valley 74, St. John Central 31
At Bowerston, the host Rockets mounted leads of 24-8 and 41-16 after the first two periods.
Brandon Bailey totaled 26 points and seven rebounds for the now 11-5 Rockets. Zach Lyon and Brandon Galiger supported with 16 and 15 tallies, respectively. DJ Shoemaker led St. John's with 10 points.
Beallsville 78, Valley 72
At Pine Grove, Blue Devils' senior guard Teryn Jarrett totaled 36 points, nine rebounds and nine assists as Big Blue improved to 8-8. Kyle Groves (19) and Dalton Secrest (10) were also in double digits for the winners.
Beallsville has another road test next Tuesday night at Cameron.
St. Clairsville 86, Edison 26
At Richmond, once-beaten St. C. made quick work of the Wildcats. The Red Devils led 22-8 after one quarter and 44-11 at halftime.
Senior ace Dan Monteroso topped the Saints with a 21-point output. Monteroso is now 15 points shy of the 2,000-point career mark.
Dylan Campbell donated a dozen markers for the Devils while Adam Jeffries added 10 tallies.
St. Clairsville has a Friday night Buckeye 8 road test at Buckeye Local.
River 61, Caldwell 28
At Hannibal, the Lady Pilots improved to 15-3 after rolling past Caldwell.
Rick Isaly's quint raced to a 19-2 lead after one period then extended the spread to 39-11 at halftime.
River's Cassidy McCullough netted a game-leading 19 points. Freshman Jensen Caretti provided 12-point support to go with five rebounds. Laken Ramsay recorded four steals.
River remains at home for a Thursday night tipoff against Shenandoah.
Shadyside 64, Wheeling Central 43
At Shadyside, the Lady Tigers came off a 25-25 halftime deadlock by blitzing Central with a 23-3 third quarter uprising for 48-28 command.
Kenzie Fielding topped the Orange with a season-high 21-point performance. Karli Bonar netted 20 points and Hayley Holenka hooped 14.
Now 10-7, Shadyside has a Thursday night road test at Union Local.