Lady Bobcats dominate Huntsville
BERRYVILLE — Berryville seniors Jeanessa Smith and Melody Smith won't soon forget the Lady Bobcats’ monumental 52-30 victory on senior night over the Huntsville Lady Eagles.
"We played well," Berryville coach Daniel Cornelison said. "If we play like that, we are going to be hard to beat."
Huntsville jumped out to an early 5-2 lead on Tuesday, but the Lady Bobcats closed the first quarter on a 14-0 run and led 16-5. Hannah Morrell scored seven of those points and Baylea Smith had five. The first time the two teams met, the Lady Bobcats scored 16 points in the first half.
“The main difference was we did some things differently offensively to try and create advantages for us, which we didn't do nearly as well the first time we played them," Cornelison said. "We just did a great job executing our offense and the mismatches we wanted."
Just as impressive for Berryville on Tuesday night was its defense. They led the Lady Eagles 29-8 at halftime. Lexy Anderson had nine points in the second quarter.
"I called a timeout early," Cornelison said. "We weren't getting to where we needed to be defensively. Of course they scored five points early, but after that I thought we did a good job of communicating and talking and being where we were supposed to be. And they didn't shoot it well either. That helped, but I feel like we did a good job pushing them out to where they couldn't shoot it well."
Eight consecutive points from Huntsville's Delanie Tipton closed Berryville's lead to 15 with 2:53 remaining in the third quarter, but that is as close as the Lady Eagles came in the second half.
Cornelison knows this is a big win for the Lady Bobcats.
"It's a huge shot of confidence for the kids," Cornelison said. "Knowing that we can play at that level is pretty remarkable and hopefully they will understand we can. Hopefully they will just build on this momentum heading into the district tournament."
The Lady Bobcats (14-12) got the No. 2 seed at Wednesday's district tournament meeting. Berryville will face Shiloh Christian in the first round on Monday at Bobcat Arena. With a win, the Lady Bobcats advance to regionals.
"I have watched them play and they are a solid ball club," Cornelison said. "We are going to have to play well. I think that they are a team, if we compete at a high level we have a chance, but if we don't we will be in for a dogfight."
Anderson finished the game with 12 points, while Kelcee Hopper and Morrell each had 11 and Smith had 10.
The Lady Bobcats tip off at 7 p.m. Monday in Bobcat Arena.
Huntsville 50, Berryville 41
Berryville put up a great fight against one of the best teams in the state, but it wasn't enough.
I thought our kids played as hard they could possibly play," Berryville coach Brent Compton said. "I thought our effort was second to none. Defensively, we played well enough to win, we just couldn't get enough points to win."
Huntsville jumped out to an early 8-0 lead. Kelby Howerton made the first basket of the game for the Bobcats midway through the first quarter. Luke Sugg added five points in the first quarter, but Huntsville led 18-11 at the end of the first.
Howerton and Sugg helped keep the Bobcats within striking distance in the second quarter, as the two seniors combined to score seven of Berryville's nine points in the quarter. Huntsville led 33-20 going into halftime.
"Kelby and Luke played outstanding, both offensively and defensively," Compton said. "We put Ty (Allen) in a tough situation having to handle the ball. Zack (Webb) didn't play so Ty had to take care of the ball and that took him out of a lot of scoring opportunities. He was trying to run the offense and get people open. He still scored nine points and had an excellent game."
Allen's three-pointer in the third quarter trimmed the Eagle lead to nine. Baskets by Sugg and Howerton, along with two free throws from Sugg, cut the Huntsville lead to six in the quarter. Huntsville led 41-33 going into the fourth quarter.
"Our kids have great character," Compton said. "They are going to fight you with everything they have from start to finish rather they start good or not. When they got down, they battled back every time, we just didn't have enough offense to make it happen."
As a senior, Jacob Johnson got the start on Tuesday. Compton said he has made great contributions to this team.
"Jacob is a super young man," Compton said. "He has been with us since seventh grade. He is a quality individual. He has done everything he has been asked to do and he is very highly thought of, not only by me, but by the kids and the coaching staff."
Berryville came out of the district seeding meeting with the No. 7 seed. The Bobcats will play Pea Ridge in the first round.
"It's going to be a tough matchup," Compton said. "They have been ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in 4A the entire season and they are No. 2 in our district, which should tell you how good our district is. Our kids and I will exhaust all of our efforts to go out and win the basketball game."
Sugg finished the game with 18 points, while Howerton had 12 and Allen had nine.
Tipoff is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. at Bobcat Arena.