Lady 'Cats beat Dardanelle, going to state

Tuesday, February 27, 2018
Berryville's Aspen Smith guards a Gravette defender in last Saturday's 4A-1 District Championship game.
Charles Chappell /

The Berryville Lady Bobcats had to work for Thursday’s 25-point victory, but the 63-38 victory over the Dardanelle Lady Sand Lizards in the 4A North regional tournament gives Berryville a berth into the Class 4A state tournament next week.

“We just eventually wore them down,” Berryville coach Daniel Cornelison said. “We got a couple of big rebound run-out points and when we got those run-out points, they kind of panicked a little bit. That led to some easy looks for us in the halfcourt.”

Berryville’s lead ballooned from six to 18 with 2:39 remaining in the third quarter.

“We talk all the time about winning the first four minutes of the third quarter,” Cornelison said. “When we won that first four minutes of the third quarter, I felt like we had a great chance to win the ballgame. It gave us the seperation we needed and they were fighting uphill for the rest of the night.”

The Lady Bobcats started out strong, leading 7-0 two minutes into the game. Berryville had a 14-13 lead at the end of the first quarter. Lexy Anderson had four points in that quarter and finished with 26. Aspen Smith made a three-pointer as the quarter came to a close and had 11 points.

“Lexy hit big bucket after big bucket, but Aspen hit some big shots for us, especially in the first half,” Cornelison said. “And that’s the thing about Aspen. Every time around this time of the year, she seems to hit big shots for us. Those two had big performances. I was really proud of them.”

The Lady Sand Lizards had a 19-18 lead midway through the second quarter, but Berryville closed the half on a 9-3 run. Cornelison was glad to see that from his team.

“Dardanelle will play you as hard as anybody will play you,” Cornelison said. “I think getting some seperation going into half was huge because it gave us some momentum. And then we started that second half where we left off.”

Baylea Smith finished the night with 14 points.

On Friday, the Lady Bobcats will take on Pottsville, the team that beat Berryville in the semifinals of the Class 4A state tournament a year ago.

“They are one of the best teams in the state,” Cornelison said. “They are extremely athletic. We are going to have to handle the basketball against them. If we can handle the basketball against them, we will be fine. If we turn the ball over and that leads to run-outs, then it’s not going to be good.”

Tipoff is scheduled for 4 p.m.

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