Guts and Grit: Berryville fights to the end in Holiday Hoops final

Friday, January 3, 2020
The Berryville Bobcats pose with the second-place trophy from the Holiday Hoops tournament.
Charles Chappell /

By Scott Loftis

Berryville coach Brent Compton said his players were disappointed after a 56-43 loss to Dumas in the championship game of the annual Holiday Hoops tournament Saturday night at Bobcat Arena.

“They were hurting in the locker room,” Compton said. “They wanted to win.”

Make no mistake: Compton would have loved to win the game, too. But he was anything but disappointed in the effort his team displayed against a talented, athletic Dumas squad that has won its first eight games this season and is ranked No. 1 among Arkansas Class 3A teams by MaxPreps.

“I was so encouraged and impressed by how hard our kids played, how much toughness and grit they showed,” Compton said. “I’m excited to build off what we did.”

Berryville, which won its first two games of the tournament against Dover and White County Central to advance to the championship game, battled Dumas for four quarters despite trailing most of the way.

Dumas used an 11-0 run early in the second quarter to take a 23-16 lead and Berryville never caught up.

Still, Berryville kept it close by outscoring Dumas 11-7 in the third quarter. That cut Dumas’ advantage to 37-32, and senior Scotland Lucas pulled Berryville within four when he made the second of two free throws 10 seconds into the fourth quarter.

Dumas’ defensive pressure made the difference in the decisive run. Senior point guard Chris Harris, a Division I football prospect, converted a steal into a dunk to put Dumas ahead 45-33 with 5:15 left. After another steal, Dumas forward DJ Russell was fouled and made the first of two free throws. After Russell missed the second free throw, the ball was tapped out to Harris, who scored again for a 48-33 lead.

Russell’s fast-break dunk made it 52-37 with about three minutes left.

Sophomore point guard Kade Davidson led Berryville with 16 points, while Lucas came off the bench to score nine. Harris scored 15 for Dumas.

Berryville advanced to the championship game by beating Dover 41-37 in the first round on Thursday and then defeating defending tournament champion White County Central 65-51 in the semifinals on Friday.

Davidson scored 18 points against White County Central while Chester added 15. Lucas had 10 and senior Trenton Hutchison scored nine points off the bench with three three-pointers.

Sophomore post Weston Teague scored 13 points in the first-round victory over Dover, while Chester had 10.

Friday’s victory over White County Central was Compton’s 300th as a high school head coach.

“I’ve had good kids,” he said.

Looking ahead for this year’s team, Compton said he is excited by the Bobcats’ potential — and their attitude.

“Who would have thought we’d go mano a mano with a team as talented as Dumas?” he said. “Our kids are buying in.”

Berryville (10-4) will travel to Green Forest on Friday night.

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