Surging Bobcats clinch top seed in district tournament
The Berryville Bobcats are headed back to the 4A-North Regional Tournament and they made a little history on the way.
Berryville clinched the 4A-1 East division title and an automatic berth in the semifinals of the upcoming 4A-1 district tournament with a 56-51 victory at Huntsville on Tuesday, Feb. 2, then beat Harrison 56-53 three nights later to complete a regular-season sweep of the Goblins.
Berryville coach Brent Compton said he wasn’t sure when the Bobcats had lost won a game at Huntsville but it hadn’t been done in his 17 seasons — until last week, that is.
“It’s just a tough place to play,” Compton said. “And it’s not just that. They’re always good. And they’re good this year. We just happened to get one over there.”
Berryville made 10 three-pointers in the victory over Huntsville, including five by senior guard Landon Chester, who led the Bobcats with 19 points. The Bobcats led 26-23 at halftime and 43-37 after three quarters.
Sophomore Nate Allen added 12 points and senior J.D. Smith scored 10 for Berryville.
In last Friday’s victory over Harrison, the Bobcats outscored the Goblins 19-7 in the second quarter to lead 29-19 at halftime, then held on down the stretch.
“These kids are just resilient,” Compton said. “They just don’t panic.”
Chester had another big game offensively, making three of Berryville’s five three-pointers and scoring a team-high 19 points. Junior Weston Teague added 14 points and sophomore Jake Wilson scored 12.
Berryville (19-3, 9-1 4A-1) has won six games in a row and eight of its past nine after what Compton described as a bit of a lull in early January.
“We’re picking up steam again,” Compton said Monday.
The Bobcats are scheduled to close the regular season with a trip to Gentry on Friday night. The district tournament will begin next week. Compton said Monday there are still some details to be worked out with seeding and COVID-19 protocols.
Rather than playing at one site, district tournament games will be played on the higher seed’s home court, but a school cannot host both a girls and boys game on the same night.
“That’s going to affect our bracket,” Compton said. “So that’s what we’re kind of waiting to find out.”