Building Momentum: Surging Bobcats complete sweep of Harrison
By Scott Loftis
It’s the time of year when high school basketball teams everywhere are aiming to build momentum for the postseason.
“Peaking at the right time,” it’s called.
And it just may be the right time for the Berryville Bobcats.
The Bobcats came from behind in the final three minutes Tuesday night to beat the Harrison Goblins 64-52 in Harrison. It was Berryville’s second consecutive victory after a four-game losing streak and the Bobcats’ second win in as many games this season against the Goblins.
“I’m super proud of our kids,” Berryville coach Brent Compton said. “I think our kids are starting to get to playing better. We can count on more guys every night to be consistent. It was just about consistency there for a couple weeks. We just couldn’t get consistently playing at a high level. I think we’re getting closer, and it’s at the right time.”
Free-throw shooting was the key to Berryville’s victory. The Bobcats missed six of 11 free throws through the first three quarters. But with the game hanging in the balance in the fourth quarter, Berryville was 17-for-18. Senior Scotland Lucas made all 10 of his free-throw attempts in the fourth quarter and finished with a game-high 20 points.
“Our kids kept their composure and we made our free throws down the stretch and got the win,” Compton said.
Harrison (10-14, 3-5 4A-1) led 52-50 after a three-pointer by Gatlin James, but Berryville sophomore Weston Teague scored from inside the lane off a pass from senior Chris Lehr to tie it. Sophomore point guard Kade Davidson hit a driving basket to put the Bobcats ahead for good at 54-52.
Berryville (16-8, 4-5) scored the next eight points of the game from the free-throw line, with Lucas making six and Davidson two, for a 62-52 lead.
Davidson finished with 15 points as Berryville beat Harrison twice in one season for the first time in Compton’s long tenure with the Bobcats.
“That’s a big accomplishment,” Compton said. “I’ve been here 16 years. I know we’ve never beaten them twice in one year. It’s a big accomplishment against a really good program that’s got a lot of tradition, so we’re pretty proud of it.”
The win leaves Berryville still battling for playoff position. The Bobcats are currently third in the 4A-1 East, trailing Shiloh Christian and Huntsville. Berryville hosts Shiloh Christian for Senior Night on Friday at Bobcat Arena, then closes the regular season at Huntsville on Tuesday.
“We’re in decent shape,” Compton said. “We just need to take it one game at a time and win. We need to take care of our part of the business and if we win and get a little help, who knows? We could jump all the way up to the 1, but the 2 or 3 is probably right now a little more realistic.”
As a No. 2 seed in the district tournament, which starts Feb. 17 at Pea Ridge, the Bobcats would need to win one game to clinch a berth in the 4A North Regional Tournament, which Berryville will host. As a No. 3 seed, the Bobcats would need to win two district tournament games.
If Berryville can make the regional tournament, Compton believes the Bobcats are capable of making a run.
“I like our chances,” he said. “With our crowd and the way we play at home, I’ll take our chances every night against anybody.”