Tribe Comes Up Short at District

Thursday, February 26, 2015
Piggott senior Nick McKinnie makes a strong move to the basket in the Tribe's loss to Corning on Thursday. Also pictured for the Tribe is Nicholas Harris (12).(TD photo/Tim Blair)

The Piggott Mohawks and Corning Bobcats met for the third time this season Thursday night in the first round of the 3A-3 District Tournament at Manila. This time the Tribe, who had won the previous two meetings, couldn't solve the match-up problems the Bobcat big men posed. And, despite a strong late-game rally, the Mohawks fell 72-69 to end their season.

After falling 91-82 to the Tribe at PHS, the Bobcat game plan was simple--get the ball in the paint and take advantage of a distinct size advantage. And, in the first quarter of play the Corning squad did just that, as Tim McMasters poured-in 9 of his 15 points in the frame as the Bobcats jumped to a 27-16 lead after one. Leading the way for the Mohawks in the early going was junior Nick Harris with 7 of his 11 on the game, while senior Nick McKinnie was 4 of 4 from the charity stripe in the first quarter en-route to a 24 point night as he led all scorers.

In the second quarter the Mohawks continued to have problems getting the ball inside, with the exception of several athletic drives by McKinnie. But, the Bobcats continued to have the hot hand, outscoring the Tribe 20-17 in the period as they took a 47-33 lead into the locker room at the break.

Coach David Reynolds made several defensive adjustments during intermission, and the Mohawks came out with renewed energy in the third. Scattering 15 points among four players, they held the Bobcats to just 7 points in the period as they cut the lead to 54-48 entering the fourth quarter.

Down the stretch Piggott's Brayden Brewer stepped-up his game, as he scored 8 of his 10 points in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, McKinnie remained hot with 7 in the period and Quinton Mauldin finished strong with 4 of his 14 in the final frame.

But, as the game wound down the Bobcats took care of business at the free throw line, hitting on 7 of 8 chances at the charity stripe in the fourth quarter to maintain the lead.

Nonetheless the Tribe would have their chances. The first came with the Mohawks down by 2 and just over 30 seconds to play as Harris fired-up a three point shot which hit the side of the backboard. McKinnie chased it into the backcourt and the Mohawks called timeout with just over 13 seconds to play. Junior Logan Dixon got the call on the ensuing play, but his shot went wide and the Mohawks were forced to foul effectively ending the ballgame.

Along with double-digit performances by McKinnie, Maudlin and Brewer the Tribe got 11 points from Harris, 5 each from Dixon and Beau Jett and a free-throw from sophomore Peyton Mann. As a team the Mohawks were 13 of 22 from the free throw line on the game.

McMasters paced the Bobcats with 15 while Klint Harvey came off the bench with 13 and Dalton Carpenter had 12. As a team the Corning squad converted on 14 of 15 trips to the free-throw line.

In the other boy's first round game Thursday it was Osceola with a lopsided win over Hoxie. Saturday the Seminole were eliminated by Manila while Corning fell to Rivercrest. Monday evening the Manila Lions beat the Rivercrest Colts 62-59 to take the district tournament boys title. All four of the semi-finalist qualified for this week's 3A Regional, also being played at Manila High School.

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