Cougar Basketball Round-Up

Thursday, December 26, 2013
Alec Scott glides in for a transition layup against EPC

The Rector boys and girls teams have been in action in the past week, both in regular season and tournament play. Here is a wrap-up of action prior to Christmas.

When the Rector Lady Cougars and the Marmaduke Lady Greyhounds meet on the basketball court, it's typically a memorable treat for area fans. Thursday night's contest in Marmaduke was another contest in this outstanding series, which saw Rector emerge with a 59-49 victory.

Marmaduke got out to a 5-0 advantage in the first minute of the contest, but the Lady Cougars rained down triples from the perimeter to take control in the opening frame. Kendal Gunn buried two treys in the quarter while Anna Blackshare, Marla Crancer and Cheyenne Ellis added a three-pointer each. When the dust settled at the first period's end, Rector was in front, 21-11.

The sniping continued in the second frame. Gunn supplied two more treys with Blackshare and Ellis again adding one each. The half came to a close with the Lady Cougars holding on to a 36-22 advantage.

The momentum shifted in the third quarter, with Marmaduke firing up beyond the arc. Allison Hampton buried a pair of triples in the third with Shelby Blackburn and Sidnee Bopp adding a trey each. For the Lady Cougars, the hot shooting cooled considerably in the third. Gunn hit from deep early in the frame, but little else fell for the visitors during the period. Rector remained in front heading into the fourth, but Marmaduke had cut the advantage to just six points, 43-37.

Blackburn brought the Lady 'Hounds within four points, 43-39, on an offensive rebound and stickback on the first possession of the fourth. The Lady Cougars responded with six unanswered points coming on a bucket in the post by Vanessa Jones, a Gunn free throw and a three-pointer from Ellis to push the lead back to 10, 49-39. Madison Price hit a mid-range jumper and a free throw and Hampton added a trey to cut the lead to four once again, 49-45, with 4:08 remaining. Rector added breathing room with a run which featured two free throws by Gunn and a Blackshare three-pointer and layup to go ahead 56-45 with just under three minutes to play. A Blackburn three and a free throw by Price for Marmaduke were offset by a Gunn free throw and a turnaround jumper by Brittany Fair to set the final in place with 2:05 left in the game.

"We came out and shot the ball well early," RHS coach Matt Dean said of the game. "We knew we had to get after them early if we wanted to give ourselves a chance to win. They're (Marmaduke) just a really good basketball team. They fought their way back like we knew they were capable of doing, It was a good game by both teams."

Dean also noted the efforts of the Lady Cougar defense, notably Blackshare who did a solid job defending MHS standout Sidnee Bopp much of the evening.

"The whole team is tough and they can all shoot, but we wanted to make sure she (Bopp) had to work for everything she got. I thought Anna did a good job guarding, as did the other girls we put on her."

Gunn led the Rector offense with a game-high 21 points including five three-pointers. Blackshare added 13 in the win. Also scoring for the Lady Cougars were Ellis 9, Crancer 5, Jones 5, Kristen Smart 4 and Fair 2.

Hampton paced Marmaduke with 16 points. Blackburn, 15, and Bopp, 10, also scored in double figures. Price, five points, and Cally Burgess, three, rounded out the Marmaduke scoring.

With the win, Rector improved to 14-3 overall and 5-2 in conference 2A-3.

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 at the Arkansas State University Convocation Center.

Marmaduke ran away with the junior high contest, 49-9.

Matison Dean scored all nine points for the Junior Lady Cougars.

Emily Clardy, 14 points, Natalie Lentz, 13 points, and Tabitha Hyten, 11, paced Marmaduke in the win. Also scoring for the Junior Lady Greyhounds were Natalie Shelton 4, Jordan Mays 2, Shandan York 2, Bailey Bridges 2 and Caitlin Herman 1.

Boys Team

Adam Dinkins scored five points in the opening minute of the Cougars' game with the hosting Marmaduke Greyhounds Friday night to set the tone for the contest, in which Rector emerged with a 50-35 victory. Dinkins netted 17 points, all in the first half, as the Cougars notched a key conference win over the rival Greyhounds.

"That's a good win," RHS coach Matt Mills said. "It's always tough to go to Marmaduke and come home with a win. Coach (Steve) Richey always has his teams ready to play. We shot the ball well early and were able to build a pretty good lead from that."

Dinkins buried three treys in the first frame and added one more in the second. He spent much of the remainder of the game on the bench with the Cougars firmly in the lead. RHS led throughout: 18-6; 32-14 and 42-24.

Also scoring for Rector were Alec Scott 7, Danny Hager 6, Reed Weber 5, Garrett Buck 5, Lawson Ford 3, Huston Highfill 3, Landen Crancer 2 and Chito Martinez 2.

Marmaduke was led by 12 from Hayden Winberry and 11 from Quinten Smith. Also scoring for MHS were Lucas Dixon 3, Tyler McCoy 3, Bryson Massey 2, Hunter Easley 2, Zach Jackson 1 and Josh Edwards 1.

Rector improved to 10-6 overall and 4-3 in 2A-3 with the victory.

The Cougars gained their 11th win Saturday, topping Cross County, 53-33, in the first round of the NEA Tournament at Jonesboro. Rector is slated to face Maynard in the second round at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 26. The semifinals are set for 4:30 p.m. Dec. 28 with the final following at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 31.

The Junior Cougars fell to Marmaduke in their matchup, 42-31.

Marmaduke led throughout: 20-6; 24-14 and 35-22.

Easton Tracy paced Rector with 15 points on the night. Also scoring for the Junior Cougars were Dustin Carter 8, Kirk Beshears 3, Case Watson 3 and Matt Hynds 2.

Cody Aile led Marmaduke with 19 in the win. Derek Agee added 11 points on the night. Also scoring for the Junior 'Hounds were Chad Hill 8 and Bryson Horton 4.

EPC Win

The Cougars picked up a big win this past Tuesday, defeating the visiting EPC Warriors, 45-44.

Rector entered the final minute of play with a two point lead, 42-40, but missed two opportunities on the front ends of one-and-one free throw attempts down the stretch. EPC's Dez Barnes made one of two at the other end, cutting Rector's advantage to just a point. The Warriors had the ball and threatened to take the lead in the final 30 seconds, but Rector's Garrett Buck drew a critical charge to return possession to the Cougars with 29 seconds left in the game. Dinkins took possession for Rector, drawing the foul to stop the clock. Dinkins sank both free throws to extend the lead to three, 44-41. EPC missed a shot from the right block, with Danny Hager securing the rebound. Hager sank one of two at the line, to push Rector ahead, 45-41, with four seconds on the clock. Chris Whitfield hit a three-pointer at the buzzer for the Warriors, setting the final in place.

The win gave a big boost to the Cougars, who struggled in holding on to leads in back-to-back losses to McCrory and Cross County.

"That's a good win," Mills said. "We needed that one. After letting those last two slip through our fingers, we needed to come back with a game like this. Dinkins' free throws, the charge Garrett took and the free throw by Danny, if we don't have any one of those things, it's a different story. I thought we stepped up and played tough when the game was on the line. Those guys showed a mental toughness we've been lacking as of late."

EPC took a six point lead in the third quarter, but Rector charged back. Alec Scott penetrated inside, hitting the basket, drawing a foul and sinking the freebie with 4:03 remaining in the third. Scott later deflected a pass; Dinkins recovered the loose ball and hit Scott in transition for the layup to cut it to a one point EPC advantage, 28-27. EPC hit two free throws and a short jumper to go ahead 32-27 with just under three minutes left in the frame. Dinkins hit a trey with just over two minutes left in the third and followed with an on the money pass to a cutting Buck for a layup with one minute left to tie the score at 32-32 for the third period.

"We had our backs to the wall and came up with some big plays when we needed them the most," Mills said. "Dinkins played his heart out and really stepped up for us."

Dinkins paced Rector with a game-high 29 points, including seven three-pointers. The senior stood out throughout the entire contest. Also scoring for Rector were Scott 9, Buck 4, Crancer 2 and Hager 1.

Barnes led EPC with 10 points on the night.

The Junior Cougars cruised to a 49-32 victory over EPC in their meeting Friday.

Freshmen Tracy and Watson had big nights for the Junior Cougars, pacing Rector with 20 and 17 points, respectively. Also scoring for the Junior Cougars were Carter 4, Sam Simmons 3, Daniel Hatfield 3 and Frank Herrera 2.

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