Bobcats fall to Ashdown in 1st round of state tourney
It was a frustrating end to the season for the Berryville Bobcats, as they fell to the Ashdown Panthers, 58-51 in the first round of the Class 4A state tournament on Thursday in Brookland.
"Our kids played as hard as they possibly could," Berryville coach Brent Compton said. "I am just so proud of what they have accomplished this year. Yes, we came up short tonight. Got a little unlucky. Got in some foul trouble. But what a great season. We finished 24-9. Made it to the state tournament, were district champs, Holiday Hoops champs and regional runner-up. A lot to be proud of."
The Panthers led by six a minute into the fourth quarter, but a three-point play by Zach Webb and a three-pointer from Jarrett Ray tied the game at 45-45. A basket by Ty Allen put the Bobcats ahead 47-46 with 5:40 left in the game. That was the last Berryville lead of the night, though. Ashdown closed the game on a 12-4 run and the Panthers were 12 of 16 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter. Webb fouled out with 1:26 remaining after being in foul trouble all night.
"Zach is the one who makes us go and with him having foul issues, it sure put a damper on things," Compton said. "Once they got ahead of us and he fouled out, it was hard to overcome."
Berryville's Scotland Lucas made back-to-back baskets to start the game and a three-pointer from Ray gave Berryville a 9-6 lead early. Webb scored nine points in the quarter and Berryville led 18-17 going into the second quarter.
Allen opened the second quarter with a three-pointer, but the Panthers responded with a three of their own. Ashdown went on to lead 29-27 at halftime.
Allen opened the second half with another three-pointer. Webb made one as well, but Ashdown led 43-39 going into the fourth quarter. Webb finished the game with 27 points and Allen had 12.
"Zach played great all year, but down the stretch when it counted most, he came up big night in and night out," Compton said. "He had an outstanding season and made everyone around him better."
Despite the season coming to an end with Thursday's loss, Compton said he is proud of what the Bobcats were able to accomplish this year.
"First and foremost, I am super proud of these kids for making it to the state tournament," Compton said. "But what these seniors have done is motivate these younger guys. Not just the 10th- and 11th-graders, but the junior high kids and elementary schools. All the children in our community have seen this and they want to be just like them."
Compton said he wanted to thank the community for all the support the team received this year and the Berryville administrators for allowing the Bobcats to host the 4A North regional tournament.