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The Runnin’ ‘Dog basketball team essentially ran away with a District 4-AAAAA preview bout with Goddard Thursday in the semifinal round of the Poe Corn Invitational in Roswell, leading the Rockets by 17 heading into the final quarter.

And although the boys in orange let up a bit in the fourth, matching their turnover total for the game to that point to help see Goddard to 17 points, Artesia was able to hold on to secure its spot in the Poe Corn title tilt.

There, they’ll get a taste of their other district foe – Roswell High – at 3 p.m. Friday at Ground Zero.

The Bulldogs overcame a trio of early three’s by the Rockets on a pair of buckets by Caleb Dean and old-fashioned three-point play from Alan Cosio. One from the stripe by Taylor Null and a Dean trey made it 15-9 Artesia, but Goddard was able to pull back within a pair, 15-13, going into the second on baskets by Dalin Stanford and LeAnthoney Harrison.

Harrison and Jesse Reyes combined to return the lead to the Rockets early in the quarter, but back-to-back longballs from Enrique Cosio and Devon Torres put the ‘Dogs back in the driver’s seat, and buckets in the paint from Null and Joe Willingham saw Artesia beginning to pull away.

Both ends of a one-and-one from Dean and a three with just over 30 seconds to go in the half from Chaney Hardt helped send the Bulldogs into the locker room with a 16-point advantage, 35-19.

A pair of shots from beyond the arc midway through the third by Xavier Garcia and Ethan Coombes were answered in kind by Hardt, and Tyler Greenwood logged a late bucket to help keep the Bulldogs in front by a comfortable margin, 49-32, going into the fourth.

There, the ‘Dogs stumbled slightly for the first time on the night, committing six turnovers and allowing a few offensive rebounds that combined to help Goddard – on the legs of 13 points from Harrison – pull back within eight. But with just 18 seconds remaining on the clock, Artesia had only to calm itself and hold on for the 56-49 victory.

Dean finished with 14 points for the ‘Dogs, followed by Null and Hardt with 11. Harrison led all scorers with 25.

With the win, the Bulldogs improved to 7-2 and earned the right to vie for the Poe Corn championship with the Coyotes.