Area Basketball Wrap-Up

Thursday, December 19, 2013
Lady Mohawk McKenzie Hopkins puts up a shot in last week's home win over Armorel. Also pictured for the Tribe are, from left: Jessie Scheffler, Devyn Staples and Kacey Crossfield.

The Piggott Mohawks and Rector Cougar boys and girls teams have been in action the past week, and some of the squads are competing in holiday tournament play. Here is an update on the most recent games, and a preview of those set for the coming week.

Mohawk Boys

Going into the current basketball season second year Piggott Mohawk head basketball coach David Reynolds had a plan for late season success--give the team more early season challenges against better opposition. The past few years the Mohawks had rolled through the Cooter Invitational Tournament, bringing home several championship trophies. This year, the Tribe took part in the very competitive Bernie Invitational Tournament and Reynolds got exactly what he was looking for--tough competition, as the Tribe dropped games to Twin Rivers and Puxico.

Then, last week the Mohawks participated in the Pre-Holiday Tournament at Westside, letting a close contest with Nettleton get away from them in the first round and then posting wins over Harrisburg and Ridgefield Christian in the consolation bracket.

Monday night the Mohawks played their fourth game in six days, dropping a 77-69 decision to the host Reindeer in the Clarkton Christmas Tournament. Then, Tuesday evening they got by the Gideon Bulldogs 83-71 in the consolation bracket, setting up a Friday night contest with East Carter County at Clarkton.

Nettleton

The Mohawks blew a 14 point halftime lead last Thursday night at Westside, falling to the 5A Nettleton Raiders by a score of 69-65.

The Tribe jumped out early in the game, and enjoyed a 22-10 lead by the end of the first quarter. The Raiders fought back some in the second quarter, but the Mohawks won the frame 12-10 and the score stood at 34-20 in favor of the Tribe at intermission.

But, the Raiders responded in the third, and outscored the Mohawks 22-18 in the frame. The Nettleton squad then went on a tear in the fourth, outscoring the Tribe 26-13 in the quarter to pull away for the non-conference win.

Will Jett paced the Mohawk offense with 23 points including three 3-point baskets, while Wesley Anderson led the Raiders with 18. Also scoring for the Mohawks were Austin Murray with 13, while Trevor Grubb finished with 11, Nick Harris had 8, Bradley Stephens finished with 4, Brayden Brewer had 3 and Nick McKinnie finished with 2.

As a team the Tribe was 11 of 16 from the free throw line.

Harrisburg

The Mohawks easily handled conference foe Harrisburg in the consolation bracket of the Pre-Holiday Tournament at Westside, beating the Hornets 67-42. The Tribe jumped out early, and doubled up the Hornets by the end of the first as they led 20-10. The Mohawks went on to outscore the Harrisburg squad 16-13 in the second, and 22-9 in the third period as they took a 58-32 lead into the fourth. The Hornets did outscore the Mohawks by one point in the final frame, 10-9, but it was too-little, too-late.

Leading the way Austin Murray and Nick McKinnie with 14 points each, while Nick Harris and Will Jett were also in double figures with 11 each. Rounding out the scoring were Brayden Brewer with 6, Logan Dixon with 3 and Grubb, Stephens, Caleb Welborn and Jeff Meuir had 2 points each in the win. Leading the way for the Hornets was Alec Witt with 10.

On the game the Mohawks converted on 9 of 19 free throws, and knocked down seven 3-pointers.

Ridgefield Christian

The Tribe easily handled non-conference Ridgefield Christian in the consolation bracket at Westside, beating the Warriors 70-56. Scoring by quarters had the Mohawks up 19-15 after one, leading 33-26 at the half and up 48-35 entering the fourth quarter.

Murray had the hot hand for the Tribe, as he led the team with 18. Harris was also in double figures with 12, while Will Jett finished with 9, McKinnie had 8, Dixon scored 6, Brewer and Grubb had 5 each, Beau Jett and Welborn had 3 each and Jacob Wellman had 1.

As a team the Mohawks converted on 13 of 24 free throws in the win.

Clarkton

The Mohawks began play in the Clarkton Christmas Tournament Monday night as the number three seed, with last year's champions from Gosnell seeded first. In fact, the Piggott squad fell to the Pirates in last year's championship game at Clarkton--their first season to take part in the annual holiday tourney.

But, the Tribe fell to the third seeded host Clarkton Reindeer by a final of 77-69 Monday night, and moved into the consolation bracket.

Playing in their fourth game in six days, the Mohawks jumped out to an early lead on the Reindeer and were ahead 21-15 after the first quarter. Clarkton battled back in the second, taking the frame 23-17 and tying the contest at 38-all at intermission.

The home squad came out hot in the second half, and outscored the Mohawks 20-13 in the third and 19-16 in the fourth as they pushed to the 8 point win.

Will Jett led the Tribe with 20, including five 3-point baskets--three of them in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, Murray had 16, and was 5 of 7 from the free-throw line, and Harris was also in double figures with 13. Rounding out the scoring was McKinnie with 9, Grubb with 7 and Dixon and Brewer with 2 points each. The Reindeer were paced by White with 20 points as he led all scorers.

Tuesday night the Mohawks took on seventh seeded Gideon in the consolation bracket, beating the Bulldogs 83-71. Gideon had fallen to second seeded Cairo, Ill. in the first round. In the upper half of the bracket Monday, Gosnell advanced over East Carter County and Risco got by Cooter.

The other consolation game set for Tuesday evening was between Cooter and East Carter County, which happens to be Mohawk Coach David Reynolds alma mater. The Redbirds did advance past Cooter, and the Tribe handled the Bulldogs, and that sets up a consolation final between the two squads. That game is scheduled for 5 p.m. this Friday, Dec. 20. It will be followed at 6:30 p.m. by the third place game, featuring the losers of the Gosnell-Risco and Clarkton-Cairo contests which are set for Thursday evening, with the winners playing around 8 p.m. for the championship.

Following the Clarkton Tournament the Mohawks are scheduled to remain idle through the Christmas break, and they'll return to action with a home set against the Corning Bobcats on Friday, Jan. 3 at PHS.

Lady Cougars

Precision perimeter shooting highlighted the Lady Cougars' decisive 94-41 win over East Poinsett County Monday night in Rector. The Lady Cougars made 18 three-pointers on the night, with 11 different players connecting from the Land o' Plenty.

"We shot the ball extremely well, especially from outside," RHS coach Matt Dean said. "That was one of the best shooting nights we've had; that's saying something with what this group is capable of doing."

Anna Blackshare, 20 points, and Kendal Gunn, 14 points, led the bombs-away barrage with three triples each. Kristen Smart, Cheyenne Ellis and Bekah Scott added two treys each and Marla Crancer, Tori Hill, Brittany Fair, Vanessa Jones, Harmony Brown and Colby Lynch added a three-pointer each.

"We just shot the ball well, top to bottom," Dean said. "It's one of those times where we hit just about everything we put up. There are several shooters on this team and they were all hitting."

Crancer finished with 13 points joining Blackshare and Gunn in double figures. Also scoring for Rector were Brown 7, Jones 7, Hill 7, Smart 6, Scott 6, Ellis 6, Fair 5 and Lynch 3.

Rector held a large advantage throughout the entire contest: 30-4; 51-19 and 76-30.

The win improved the Lady Cougars to 13-3 overall and 4-2 in 2A-3.

Rector is set to visit rival Marmaduke beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday. The Lady Cougars have been selected as the number one seed in Division II of the NEA Tournament. RHS has a first round bye and is slated play the winner of Maynard and EPC at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 26.

The Junior Lady Cougars fell in their meeting with EPC, 34-23.

A tough third quarter hurt RHS. Rector went to the half with a 13-11 advantage, but the visitors were able to get to the basket in the third frame, outpacing the Junior Lady Cougars 15-4 in the period to moved ahead 26-17.

Matison Dean paced Rector with 17 points. Also scoring were Hailey Hilfiker 2, Sophia Adams 2 and Gabbie Clark 2.

Cross County Game

The Lady Cougars started strong and never looked back in a runaway 78-15 win over Cross County Thursday night in Rector.

The offense was fueled by the defense early on, with the Lady Cougars picking off passes and swiping dribbles to create scoring opportunities in transition. Blackshare, Gunn and Scott made their marks early, netting 11, 8 and 6 points, respectively, in the first quarter. RHS led 26-4 after the opening period.

Ellis got Rector going in the second frame, leading a three-point barrage with two from behind the arc. Fair, Brown and Crancer added a trey each with Hill notching a short jumper. Rector was in command going into halftime, 43-6.

Blackshare and Scott continued to pour it on in the third frame, leading the Lady Cougars to a 66-15 advantage.

Blackshare paced Rector with 19 points in the victory. Scott notched 12 for the Lady Cougars. Also scoring for RHS were Ellis 9, Gunn 8, Jones 7, Brown 5, Hill 5, Crancer 5, Fair 4, Bailey Haney 2 and Smart 2.

The Junior Lady Cougars fell to Cross County, 43-27.

Matison Dean led Rector with a game-high 13 points. Also scoring for the Junior Lady Cougars were Adams 4, Dominique Coln 4, Hilfiker 3, Sarah Isom 2 and Maddie Hobbs 1.

Lady Mohawks

The Piggott Lady Mohawks split a pair of games in the past week, beating Armorel by five last Tuesday evening and then dropping a four point loss to the potent Harrisburg Lady Hornets on Monday. Meanwhile, the junior girls also split their games with the Tigers and Hornets. Both teams will be back in action this Thursday, Dec. 19 as they visit Manila.

Armorel Games

The Lady Mohawks took on Armorel last Tuesday at PHS, after beating the Lady Tigers two weeks earlier in their building. Playing the game despite the cancellation of classes due to the winter storm, neither team looked sharp as they played fairly evenly throughout the contest.

In fact, the game was tied at a measly 6-6 at the end of the first quarter, as both teams had trouble scoring early. But, the Mohawks did squeak out a two point lead by the halftime intermission, as they took a 14-12 lead into the locker room.

The two squads played even in the third period, with each scoring 9 points in the frame. But, the Tribe was able to pull away down the stretch as they outscored the Lady Tigers 9-6 in the fourth quarter to insure the win.

Leading the way was Bre Chandler with 9, while Kacey Crossfield finished with 7, Devyn Staples had 6 and Jessie Scheffler and Bailey Pollard finished with 3 points each. Shelby Collard led the Lady Tigers with 11.

Both teams converted on 5 of 9 free throws on the game, while the Tribe's Shelby Chavez led the team with 6 rebounds, and Scheffler finished with four boards.

Junior Girls

Meanwhile, the junior girls rolled past Armorel 34-25 in their contest, taking an early lead and holding it throughout. Paced by Grayson Murray's double-double, as she finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds, the Tribe notched their second non-conference win over the Lady Tigers this season.

The Mohawks jumped out 10-4 by the end of the first quarter, but the Tigers came back in the second 12-2 to take a 16 -12 lead into the locker room. Both teams looked sluggish in the third period, but the Tribe outscored their visitors 7-2 to take a one point lead. In the fourth quarter the Mohawks outscored the Lady Tigers 15-7 as they cruised to the win.

Along with Murray's double-double, the Tribe got 9 points from Hannah Powell, 7 from Colby Crossfield, 6 from Reagan Ralph and Emily Trosper had 2 points. Trosper also had 7 rebounds, while Ralph finished with 6 boards in the win. As a team the Lady Mohawks converted on 9 of 15 free throw attempts.

The Lady Tigers were led by Whittney Waggoner with 12 points.

Harrisburg

The Lady Mohawks took on the Lady Hornets of Harrisburg Monday night for the second time in just over a week, after losing a lopsided non-conference contest in the Pre-Holiday Tournament at Bay. Monday night the Tribe gave the Harrisburg squad all they could handle, but were unable to maintain the lead down the stretch, and fell 55-51.

"We came back from a big deficit at halftime and outscored them 21-5 in the third quarter," noted head coach Alan Rabjohn. "We were still up late in the game, had the lead with less than two minutes to play, but then we started having trouble--we just need to learn how to play with a lead and finish these games."

The Lady Hornets have been potent this season, and benefited greatly from the consolidation with Weiner--which netted them four of the five starters from last year's 2A state runner-ups. But, Monday night the Tribe was up for the challenge, and hung with their visitors throughout.

"We were able to get (Peyton) Graft into foul trouble fairly early and that helped us out a lot in the paint," Rabjohn noted. "Our girls looked very confident in the second half, but we were just not able to hold on down the stretch."

The score stood at 13-10 in favor of the Lady Hornets after one, and they extended the lead to 32-18 at intermission. The Tribe's big fourth quarter gave them a 39-37 advantage going into the final frame, but they were outscored 18-12 in the period as they took the loss by 4.

Devyn Staples paced the Mohawk offense with 14 points while Kacey Crossfield finished with 13 points and 5 assists. Also scoring were McKenzie Hopkins with 8, while Bre Chandler, Bailey Pollard and MaKalia Beck had 4 each, Jessie Scheffler finished with 2 points and 3 rebounds and Micah Hobbs finished with 2 points. As a team the Lady Mohawks were 13 of 17 from the free throw line.

Meanwhile, Kaci Mack and MaKaleigh Riddle had 13 each for the Lady Hornets in the win. As a team, Harrisburg converted on 10 of 18 free throw attempts.

Both Lady Mohawk teams will be back in action this Thursday, Dec. 19 as they travel to Manila for a conference set with the Lady Lions. The girls will then remain idle through the Christmas break, and will resume play on Monday, Jan. 6 as they host the Lady Bobcats of Corning at PHS.

Rector Cougars

A dismal second half saw the Cougars fall to Cross County by a single point, 59-58, Friday night in Rector. RHS had led by as many as 21 points in the second frame, but saw the wheels fall off down the stretch.

"We just started making mistakes that we hadn't been making earlier in the game," Rector coach Matt Mills said. "We had the lead and we just wouldn't it away. It's almost like we were waiting for them to come back and beat us."

Rector took a 17-6 lead in the first quarter. Senior trio Reed Weber, six points, Alec Scott, four points, and Adam Dinkins, five points, got things headed in the right direction in the opening frame.

It was more of the same in the second frame, with Weber and Dinkins notching a pair treys each to push the Cougars to a 33-17 lead at intermission.

Cross County stormed back in the third, with three-pointers from Tyler Futrell and Jordan Davis to close the frame just four points back, 41-37.

Cross County forward Jakeevus Jones led the fourth quarter rally, netting nine points as the visitors outpaced RHS 22-17 in the final frame.

Weber led Rector with 16 points on the night. Scott, 15 points, and Dinkins, 14, also netted double digit outputs. Also scoring for the Cougars were Garrett Buck 8, Lawson Ford 3 and Landen Crancer 2.

Jones paced Cross County with 17 points. Futrell and Davis added 13 points each for the visitors.

Rector dropped to 8-6 overall and 2-3 in conference play with the loss.

The Cougars are slated to visit Marmaduke beginning at 6 p.m. Friday. RHS has been announced as the fifth seed in Division II of the NEA Tournament at the ASU Convocation Center. RHS will have a chance to right a wrong in their first game of the tourney, as they are set to meet Cross County at 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21 at the Convo.

The Junior Cougars managed just 10 points in the second half, dropping a tough contest in their meeting with Cross County Friday night.

Rector jumped ahead 22-8 in the first frame and led 32-19 at intermission with strong shooting by Eastonr Tracy, Case Watson and Sam Simmons leading the charge. The output dwindled in the second half, however, with Cross County closing the third frame on a 15-2 run to trail by just two points, 38-36, heading into the fourth quarter. A 14-4 fourth quarter surge gave the visitors the win.

Tracy notched a game-high 18 points for the Junior Cougars. Simmons and Watson notched double figures, finishing with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Kirk Beshears rounded out the Junior Cougar scoring with three points on the night.

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