Mohawks and Cougars Split Regular Season Finale
Last Thursday, Feb. 13, was a big night for local basketball, as Piggott senior high teams visited Rector for county rival hoops action.
The Lady Cougars rolled to a 67-36 win over the visiting Lady Mohawks in the evening's first competition. Rector got out to a 22-9 first quarter advantage on an emotion-packed Senior Night and never looked back from there, leading 39-21 at intermission and 57-28 going into the final stanza.
A special arrangement reached by RHS coach Matt Dean and PHS head coach Alan Rabjohn allowed the Lady Cougars to start all eight of their senior high players in their final home game. Each senior was announced as part of the starting lineup, but the additional athletes did not impact the opening tip. Senior Lady Cougars Kendall Gunn, Bailey Haney, Cheyenne Ellis, Bekah Scott, Kristen Smart, Vanessa Jones, Lenae Haley and Anna Blackshare, who is recovering from season-ending knee injuries, took the floor at the start of the game.
"I want to thank Coach Rabjohn for allowing us to do that," Dean said after the game. "It meant a lot to all of us to have that opportunity."
Both teams went deep into their rotation for the contest.
Rector was led by Ellis, 17 points, and Smart, 11 points. Also scoring for the Lady Cougars were Gunn 9, Scott 8, Haney 5, Haley 5, Tori Hill 5, Jones 3, Marla Crancer 2 and Harmony Brown 2.
Kacey Crossfield and Sydney Tarno paced the Lady Mohawks with eight points each. Also scoring for Piggott were Bailey Pollard 4, Makalia Beck 4, McKenzie Hopkins 4, Jessie Scheffler 2, Shelby Chavez 2, Micah Hobbs 2 and Payton Wilson 2.
The final contest of the evening saw the Mohawks top the Cougars in barn-burning senior boys' action, 48-45.
Piggott opened the fourth frame with a 33-32 advantage, but the Cougars rattled off a 9-0 run on a pair of transition layups by Adam Dinkins, a jumper by Alec Scott and a three-pointer from the corner by Reed Weber to take a 41-33 advantage with 5:49 left in the game. Piggott closed the gap with a runner in the lane by Nick McKinnie and three of four at the stripe by Trevor Grubb, pulling the Mohawks within three, 41-38, with just under three minutes remaining. Weber went coast-to-coast for a transition layup and additional free throw, but missed at the stripe to leave it a five-point differential, 43-38, with 2:39 showing. Rector missed the front end of a one-and-one opportunity with 1:51 left, with Piggott's Nick Harris securing the rebound while drawing a foul. Harris made both free throw attempts to bring the Tribe back within three, 43-40. Two free throws by Weber were countered by an Austin Murray three-pointer with 1:34 left to play, the latter cutting the RHS lead to two, 45-43. The Mohawks took the lead on a steal and transition layup by Will Jett with 1:19 remaining. Jett was fouled on the drive, and the additional free throw fell through the net to put PHS in front, 46-45. A Cougar charging foul with 1:00 remaining sent the ball back to PHS, who burned away clock before calling timeout with 37 seconds to play. The Mohawks were unable to inbound, though, receiving a five second violation which put the ball back in the Cougars' hands. Piggott's Brayden Brewer rebounded an RHS miss in the paint, and went to the line after drawing a quick foul. Brewer sank both attempts at the stripe with 20 seconds remaining to set the final tally in place. The Cougars attempted two three-pointers in the final seconds, but both shots were off the mark.
The contest was close throughout, with Piggott leading 11-9 after the first frame and Rector holding a 19-18 advantage at intermission.
Murray and Jett led the Mohawks with 18 and 13 points, respectively. Also scoring for PHS were Grubb 6, Harris 4, McKinnie 4, Brewer 2 and Logan Dixon 1.
Weber finished with a game-high 22 for the Cougars. Also scoring for RHS were Scott 8, Dinkins 8, Lawson Ford 4, Nick Hardin 2 and Garrett Buck 1.
The evening began with RHS senior basketball players Wes McCluskey, Adam Dinkins, Alec Scott, Reed Weber, Bekah Scott, Lenae Haley, Kendal Gunn, Kristen Smart, Anna Blackshare, Cheyenne Ellis, Bailey Haney and Vanessa Jones joining RHS Band senior Mikayla Arnold and senior cheerleaders Madison Cate, Katie Bowers, Amy DeMent, Kaylee Hartsield and Jordan Crane for special recognition during Senior Night festivities. Each senior was highlighted at midcourt prior to the start of the basketball contests.