Cats continue downward slide in 1-4A Conference standings

Friday, January 25, 2013
Chan Davis / Carroll County News Berryville's Rick Porter scored eight points against Gravette on Tuesday.

GRAVETTE -- Berryville dropped to 12-9 overall and 3-6 in 1-4A Conference with a 57-54 loss at Gravette on Tuesday.

The Bobcats continue to struggle in conference games, despite being competitive in every outing.

"Four of our six losses have been buy four points or less," Berryville coach Brent Compton said. "We have competed every night. It's just a play or two here or there."

The Cats attempted to get the ball inside to big man Josh Morrell, something Compton has stressed as the season continues down the final stretch. But Morrell followed Friday's 16-point outburst against Ozark with just six points in Tuesday's loss.

"We tried to pound it inside," Compton said. "It was just one of those nights where the ball wouldn't go in."

Gravette led 14-11 after the opening stanza. But the Cats outscored the Lions 15-9 in the second frame for a 26-23 advantage at intermission. A 7-0 Gravette run to open the third proved to be more than Berryville could overcome in the final minutes.

"We came back and got to within two in the fourth," Compton said. "We just couldn't make the plays down the stretch."

Austin Carr and Austin Lehr led the Cats with 13 points each while Rick Porter and Donnie Hoppe finished with eight apiece. Hoppe, the team's leading scorer, sat most of the second in early foul trouble.

Carr and Lehr were part of the second-quarter scoring burst, hitting from long range. Lehr is questionable for tonight's game after having stitches in his elbow after Tuesday's physical game that left Justin Turner with two less teeth.

"Austin (Lehr) and Justin were going for a rebound right at the end of the game and they collided," Compton said. "This happened after (Lehr) was getting up off the floor after being knocked down. It was a very physical game and out of control all night."

Compton said the Cats needed Lehr and Turner at their disposal.

"We could count on them off the bench to come in and help us in our zone (defense)," he said. "We are going to face that (tonight) against Lincoln. They run a match-up zone and we need shooters on the floor. Both of those guys give us that."

The Cats are currently alone in fifth place in the conference behind Lincoln (6-3). Farmington leads the division at 7-1 with Gravette and Pea Ridge sandwiched in between. Compton said the Cats need to win at least four of their remaining five conference games to finish in the top four and get a bye in next month's conference tournament.

"We would love to be the fourth seed," he said. "At the very least we want to be the five seed. But the four gets you a bye in the first round and you don't have to play back-to-back games."

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