Third quarter is bugaboo for Bobcats

Friday, January 18, 2019

By Scott Loftis

The Berryville Bobcats have lost more games than they’ve won this season, but no one who has watched them play will attribute that to a lack of effort.

On Tuesday, Berryville lost to Farmington 67-53 in another hard-fought game at Bobcat Arena.

Farmington (14-6, 5-0 4A-1) led just 36-33 at halftime but outscored Berryville 15-7 in the third quarter to open up a comfortable margin. Berryville (9-11, 2-3) got within five points in the fourth quarter before Farmington finished the game with a 13-4 run.

Berryville coach Brent Compton pointed to his team’s seven missed free throws in the first half as a game-changer, along with the third quarter.

“We didn’t make free throws,” he said. “If we make free throws, we’re probably in the lead. Then we had a bad third quarter.”

The Bobcats fared better from the free-throw line in the second half, making five of six to finish 15 of 23. But they made only two shorts from the floor in the third quarter as Farmington began to pull away.

Berryville was within four points after junior forward Kelton Davidson scored from close range to make it 44-40 halfway through the quarter. Farmington scored the final seven points of the quarter, the last three coming on a three-pointer by senior guard Danny Valenzuela for a 51-40 lead.

Farmington senior guard Will Pridmore scored 11 of his game-high 28 points in the fourth quarter as the Cardinals staved off a final Berryville rally.

Berryville sophomore J.D. Smith opened the fourth-quarter scoring with a three-pointer from the left-wing at the 7:12 mark. Senior guard Rayden Peden followed 30 seconds later with a spinning layup in transition, then scored again on an outlet pass from senior guard Zakk Webb with 6:17 left. After Pridmore missed two free throws with 5:42 remaining, Smith sank two to pull the Bobcats within 54-49 at the 5:25 mark.

Pridmore scored Farmington’s next six points, wrapped around a basket from Webb off a nice pass from senior forward Kyler Kendrick, as the Cardinals pushed their lead back to 60-51.

Webb led Berryville with 14 points. Smith added 10 off the bench while Kendrick scored eight points and Peden had seven.

Compton credited his team for its competitive spirit but pointed out that the Bobcats don’t have a great margin for error.

“We’re going to compete,” he said. “Our kids play hard. They give themselves a chance to compete every night. I don’t think anybody in this league is a whole lot better than anybody else, but we have to play our best game to have a chance.”

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