Leader Blues

Thursday, February 21, 2008

SPORTS >>Bald Knob edges out Lonoke girls in district finals

Leader sportswriter

BALD KNOB — A putback by Desiree White at the buzzer gave the Bald Knob girls their only lead of the game, and the 2-4A District championship with a 27-26 win over Lonoke on Saturday at Bulldog Arena.

Lonoke led the entire way, but a 9-0 run for the Lady Bulldogs over the last 4:55 of the game helped the Bald Knob girls back up their regular-season league title. The Lady ’Rabbits kept the game low scoring, which on most occasions throughout the season meant victory, but BK junior guard Phagen Altom sparked a rally with a steal that she took coast to coast for a layup with 7:14 to play that cut the Lonoke lead to 22-18.

Lonoke had built a lead as high as ten points during the third. Asiah Scribner scored four points inside to put the Lady ’Rabbits up by six, with free throws by Michaela Brown and Cara Neighbors that extended it to 22-12 at the 2:07 mark.

Altom’s steal and layup to start the third quarter served as Bald Knob’s only points in the frame until, with seven seconds left, Brittany Fulks scored inside to cut Lonoke’s lead to eight as they entered the fourth quarter.

“Low scoring favors you until you have a let- down and give up 14 points in the fourth quarter,” Lady Jackrabbits coach Nathan Morris said. “You can’t let that kind of thing happen, but even then, we still had a chance to win. We needed one laststop, but that three pointer they had at the end was huge in a close game like this one.”

Chelsea Kyle drew the Lady Bulldogs to within a single point when she hit a three pointer that put Bald Knob to within one with 2:46 left. Lonoke turned it over with 1:20 left, and the Lady Bulldogs held for one last shot.

Post Khali Garner got the first call inside with five seconds left, but her shot bounced just off the cylinder, and White was there for the instant putback as time expired.

A half-second was ultimately put back on the clock for one last shot, but Lonoke could not convert.

Despite the loss, Morris said there are plenty of things to take from the game.

“This will help us out down the road,” Morris said. “You know you’re going to keep drawing tight games in region and state. It’s a tough way to end it, but it’s going to make us better down the stretch.”

With the win, Bald Knob claimed both the 2-4A Conference title, and district championship. The Lady Bulldogs will once again play host this week at the Class 4A East Region tournament. Bald Knob will be the No. 1 seed from District 2, and will play District 3 No. 4 seed Jonesboro Westside today at 4 p.m.

The Lady Jackrab-bits will be the No. 2 seed out of District 2, and will play Pocahontas, the No. 3 seed from District 3, tomorrow at 7 p.m. It is a first-round rematch of last year’s regional finals, which the Lady Jackrabbits won on a last-second inbounds play on their way to the state finals.

“A coach will tell you that those four or five days between the end of the district tournament and the start of regionals are the longest days of the year,” Morris said.

“Pocahontas is a tough team. They come out with a man-to-man defense, and they drive to the basket hard. It’s game-to-game from here; we’ll see where we end up.”