Taking care of business
Bobcats work overtime to get past Prairie Grove
The Berryville Bobcats had to put in a little extra work to get past the Prairie Grove Tigers on Friday night, but in the end the Bobcats pulled out a 62-56 victory in triple overtime.
“Our kids just keep finding ways to win,” Berryville coach Brent Compton said. “Different times of the game we thought we kind of had it put away and then they would hit a three or we’d foul. For whatever reason, we couldn’t put them away, until that last overtime and finally we made enough free throws to get too far ahead of them. And our kids were worn slick out. They were glad to finally get it done.”
Berryville led by two points at halftime and by three going into the fourth quarter. Sophomore Jake Wilson scored 20 points to lead the Bobcats — including nine in the three overtimes, with seven of those coming from the free-throw line. Junior Weston Teague added 18 points for Berryville and sophomore Nate Allen scored seven of his 13 points in overtime.
Three days earlier, Berryville defeated Pea Ridge 60-47 as senior J.D. Smith scored 19 points with Allen and Teague adding 11 points apiece and Wilson scoring nine.
Berryville trailed 40-39 entering the fourth quarter but outscored the Blackhawks 21-8 over the final eight minutes.
“We’re doing just enough to win,” Compton said. “These teams we’re playing are just so big and physical and athletic. Our kids are skilled and they’re just finding a way to win these close games when we’ve had chances to pull away from these teams. And that kind of makes me nervous moving forward. We need to start putting some of these teams away and not let them think that they have a chance to beat us because it’s liable to come back and bite us sometime down the road.”
Besides being a skilled team that typically plays with maximum effort, Berryville also presents problems for opponents with its offensive balance. All five of the Bobcats’ starters are averaging at least nine points a game in conference play, led by Smith’s 11.8 points per game.
“Who do you guard and then who steps up that night if somebody’s having a down night or whatever,” Compton said.
Smith’s emergence is another key in the Bobcats’ success. A three-year starter at quarterback for the Berryville football team, Smith had been a part-time starter for the basketball team the past two seasons. Now he gives the Bobcats another scoring threat.
“You can just see it in his eyes,” Compton said. “It means so much to him and he plays so hard. … Our kids are just such competitors and they’re such good kids and they they just play so well together. They don’t care who scores. They just all want to win. They want to win a conference title so bad. And one game from the next, somebody will step up and find a way to get us a win.”
Berryville will play a pair of 4A-1 conference games this week, traveling to Gravette on Tuesday and hosting Shiloh Christian on Friday at Bobcat Arena. Friday’s games will begin with junior high girls at 5 p.m., followed by the high school girls and then the high school boys.