Lady Bobcats hand Prairie Grove first conference loss
BERRYVILLE -- The Prairie Grove Lady Tigers hadn't lost a conference game all year. That all changed Tuesday night when the Berryville Lady Bobcats defeated Prairie Grove, 38-31.
"That was a good win," Berryville coach Daniel Cornelison said. "I was proud of the kids. They played hard and left everything on the floor last night. I don't think you could ask much more from them."
The Lady Bobcats got out to a great start, getting out to a 14-0 lead and leading 14-2 at the end of the first quarter. Prairie Grove hasn't been accustomed to getting behind early like this. Hannah Morrell had five points in the quarter and Aspen Smith had four.
"It was important to get a lead and maintain that lead," Cornelison said. "Once they get ahead, the game grinds to a halt and you really can't take it from them. We jumped on them early, which was critical, so they had to continually try to score and they couldn't just go out and hold the ball for two quarters like the first time we played them."
The Lady Tigers opened the second quarter on a 9-2 run, scoring all nine points off turnovers. Morrell and Ally Teague helped close the quarter strong for Berryville though, as they combined to score seven points in the final 1:38 of the half and give the Lady Bobcats a 23-14 lead going into halftime.
"Our girls did a great job of executing the defensive game plan," Cornelison said. "I couldn't be prouder of what they did defensively. It frustrated them. When you sit there and watch the film and put a game plan together and for the kids to execute it perfectly, it shows you what kind of kids you have. They did such a great job of doing the little things to get us the victory."
Teague and Morrell continued the scoring in the third quarter, as they accounted for all eight of Berryville's points. The Lady Bobcats led by six going into the final quarter. Prairie Grove cut the lead to two midway through the fourth quarter, but clutch free throws down the stretch by Teague, Baylea Smith and Melody Smith sealed the Berryville victory. Cornelison said Melody Smith had one of her better games of the season.
"She gave us huge minutes and made big plays," Cornelison said. "Melody has gotten better and better and better and last night in probably the most pressure situation you can have, she stepped up and played tremendous."
Berryville (17-9, 10-3 4A-1) travels to Huntsville on Friday. The winner of that game will finish second in the conference.
"That game is huge," Cornelison said. "The winner of that game gets an automatic berth into the regional tournament. My girls know that and Huntsville's girls know that. We just have to go play the game now. We have to bring the same intensity and effort to the floor that we played with Tuesday night on Friday night."
Morrell led the Lady Bobcats with 15 points and Teague, Berryville's only senior, finished with 12.
Cornelison said Teague has been fun to coach and also been a great teammate.
"When you think of a teammate and the meaning of the word teammate, I don't know how you can define it any better than Ally Teague," Cornelison said. "Her teammates want to play hard with her and for her. We want to coach hard for her. She brings laughter, intensity, work ethic and a positive attitude to our team. You just can't say enough positive things about that young lady. She is just a tremendous young lady with a bright future ahead of her."
Prairie Grove 67, Berryville 57
The way Berryville lost to Prairie Grove on Tuesday night hurt the Bobcats in a multitude of ways. Any momentum the Bobcats had gained was lost as was a chance at controlling their own destiny for the No. 3 seed and a bye in the first round of the district tournament was also lost.
Now the Bobcats must win on Friday against Huntsville and hope for a Gravette loss.
Ty Allen did score 18 points, all of which came in the fourth quarter, in the loss to Prairie Grove.
"Last Friday against Pea Ridge I felt like we executed the game plan 100 percent," Berryville coach Brent Compton said. "Last night, I felt like we executed the game plan zero percent."
Seniors Timmond Turner and Seth Helmlinger played well early, scoring 10 of Berryville's 13 first-quarter points. The Bobcats were tied with Prairie Grove at the end of the first. The Tigers opened the second quarter on an 11-2 run and went on to outscore Berryville 17-7 in the quarter. Compton said the Bobcats struggled offensively, but their defensive intensity wasn't where it needed to be.
"We played out of character," Compton said. "We took dumb shots. We gave up 67 points to a team that probably doesn't average 40."
Things didn't get any better for the Bobcats in the third quarter, as Helmlinger and Turner were the only two Bobcats to score points. As the two senior leaders, along with Darby Foster, Compton said it's important they step up and lead this team.
"They are all great guys," Compton said. "As it is, they need to give it their all, step up and be leaders to keep this season going."
The Bobcats got to within eight in the fourth quarter, thanks in large part to Allen scoring 18 points in the quarter on six three-pointers.
"For a sophomore to come in and hit shots like that was promising," Compton said. "It was disappointing we didn't get him the ball more, though. He had the hot hand. There were times when we went to the opposite side of the floor. We just played out of character."
Allen led the Bobcats in scoring while Turner had 15 points and Helmlinger had 14.
On Friday, the Bobcats (16-10, 7-6 4A-1) travel to Huntsville. Junior high action starts at 5 p.m.