SPORTS >> Area teams advance, fall in district games
By JASON KING
Leader sports writer
Double-double hardly begins to describe Lonoke senior post player Asiah Scribner’s effort, especially rebounding, during the Lady Jackrabbits’ 43-29 semifinal victory over host Stuttgart in the 2-4A district tournament Thursday.
Scribner grabbed 19 rebounds, most of them defensive, and scored 14 points, as Lonoke (23-5), already qualified for regionals, advanced to Friday’s final round against Clinton.
Scribner’s rebounding work gave the Lady Ricebirds few second-chance opportunities and helped the Lady ’Rabbits control the tempo despite early foul trouble that limited playing time for leading scorer Cara Neighbors.
“Their guards are known for shooting the deep three,” Lady Jackrabbits coach Nathan Morris said. “So we were fortunate that a lot of them didn’t fall, and Asiah was there to grab some long rebounds, and she also got some put-backs from her rebounds on the offensive side.”
Ashleigh Himstedt added 16 points for Lonoke.
Lonoke will move on to regionals courtesy of a 31-29 victory over Southside Batesville in the first round of the 2-4A district tournament at Stuttgart on Wednesday.
But the Jackrabbits suffered a 59-46 loss to Heber Springs in Thursday’s semifinal round. It was the Jackrabbits’ second loss to the Panthers in six days.
T.J. Scott led the Jackrabbits (12-11) with 13 points Thursday. Lonoke battled to a 30-30 tie at the half, but was outscored 18-4 in the third quarter.
“We talked about defensive transition and picking our guys up early,” Jackrabbits coach Dean Campbell said. “And for the most part, we did that in the first half. But we got behind and started taking quick shots in the third quarter, and that usually leads to points on the other side.”
A strong defensive effort helped Harding Academy beat 2-3A district tourney hosts Rose Bud 59-44 in the semifinals on Thursday. The Wildcats (16-6) entered the tournament as the No. 2 seed, while the Ramblers were No. 3.
Daniel Stevens led Harding Academy with 18 points, and was 9 of 9 from the free-throw line. Jordan Smith and freshman Will Francis each scored 12 points.
“The keys were that we took care of the ball and didn’t give them turnovers that led to easy baskets,” Wildcats coach Brad Francis said. “Then we defended them well.”
After an unbeaten run through the 2-3A Conference in the regular season, top seed Riverview got more than it bargained for in the semifinals matchup with No. 5 Barton in the 2-3A district tournament at Rose Bud High School on Thursday.
Senior Jordan Perry hit a 25-footer at the buzzer to help the Raiders secure a 59-56 victory, a trip to the finals and a fourth meeting with cross-town rival Harding Academy.
The Bears kept themselves in the game with solid outside shooting that included eight, three-point baskets from five different players.
“Any win is a good thing,” Raiders coach Russell Stump-enhous said. “Do I wish we won every game by 30 points? Sure, it makes my job a lot easier, but we’ve managed a lot of close games this year. When you go through the conference 12-0, you have a big target on your back.”
Taylor Smith led the Raiders (23-5) with 19 points while Perry had 14.
After an uneventful first round, Harding Academy provided the drama in the 2-3A district tournament semifinals at Rambler Arena against host Rose Bud Thursday.
Anna Bangs hit a buzzer-beating turnaround shot in the lane for a 48-47 overtime victory that sent the Lady Wildcats to Friday’s championship with top seed England.
Harding Academy (17-8) found itself trailing 27-20 at the end of the third quarter but outscored Rose Bud 21-14 in the final period to tie the game 41-41 at the end of regulation.
“We stole that one for sure,” Lady Wildcats coach Rusty Garner said. “I haven’t had a legitimate buzzer-beater win since I’ve been here, so the kids were really excited to get that one.”
The Lady Wildcats, who entered the tournament as the No. 3 seed, easily advanced in the first round against No. 6 seed Brinkley in a mercy-ruled 53-24 rout. Bangs led Harding Academy with 14 points while senior post player Megan Pack scored 11 points.
The Lady Raiders’ season ended at the hands of Pangburn, which won 53-46 in the first round of the 2-3A district tournament at Rose Bud High School on Tuesday.
Riverview sent Pangburn to the free-throw line in the late going to stop the clock, but the Lady Tigers hit six consecutive free throws in the final minutes to clinch the victory.
Queen Banks led the Lady Raiders with 21 points while Brianna Harris scored 10.
Bigelow ended the Abundant Life Lady Owls’ season with a 48-46 overtime victory in the first round of the 5-2A North district tournament Thursday.
Carmyn Sharp led the Lady Owls with 12 points while Sidney Venus scored 11.
With the loss, the Lady Owls (18-13) did not qualify for regionals, which means no repeat trip to the 2A state tournament after they qualified for the first time last season.
But the good news for Abundant Life is, with the exception of senior post player Erin Miller, the Lady Owls will return all of their key players next season, including Sharp and Venus.
“We had a good year, 18 wins is a good amount, and it’s more than a lot of teams have,” Lady Owls coach Justin Moseley said. “We had a couple of games that we would love to have back, but seven of those losses were against ranked teams. We have a lot coming back next year, and we have a good group of ninth graders coming in.”
The Abundant Life boys earned the No. 1 seed in their bracket and did not play until Friday night.