Berryville grinds out win against Gravette
BERRYVILLE -- After dropping its first two 1-4A Conference outings of the season to Farmington and Ozark, Berryville bounced back for a 69-57 win over Gravette Tuesday night at Bobcat Arena.
Donnie Hoppe scored a game-high 24 points and Austin Carr followed with 20 as the Bobcats, now 6-5 overall and 1-2 in league play, erased an early first-half deficit to earn the victory.
"It was a much-needed win," Berryville coach Brent Compton said. "Honestly, it was actually a must-win for the conference race and conference positioning. We needed that momentum going into the break. Hopefully we can play well on Friday, build on that, and go into the break on a positive note."
Berryville plays at Greenland tonight to finish out the first half of the season. The Cats return to the floor on Jan. 4 at home against conference foe Pea Ridge.
Gravette led by as many as six in the first half before the Cats came to life, overcoming the deficit and posting a 30-28 advantage at the half, bolstered by a Hoppe 3-pointer as time expired to take the lead.
"That was their last lead of the game," Compton said. "The kids did what they had to win. We still haven't put together four quarters. But that was a good win over the team that was picked to win our conference. We will be right in the middle of it if we continue to improve."
Berryville came out strong in the second half and led by 13 entering the final stanza as foul trouble plagued the Lions (4-6, 1-2). Berryville finished the game 22-of-37 from the charity stripe, garnering angst from Gravette coach Dustin Peters. Peters was whistled for a technical fouled late in the third as the Cats were pulling away. Peters absorbed some of the calls after the game.
"We didn't guard very well and they came in with a good offensive plan against us," he said. "They took it to the basket a lot. They were aggressive and got to the free-throw line a lot. I tried to get our guys to take it to the rim more. But we settled for perimeter jump shots."
The iron was unkind to the Lions from long range as Berryville continued to penetrate the lane.
"The game was called tight," Compton admitted. "Honestly, if you don't call fouls on Gravette, they are going to have their way with you. They are a very physical team and I would like to think at home you are going to get those calls."
Compton noted the imbalance of free throws as Gravette finished 9-of-18 from the line.
"We got to the line a bunch," he said. "But I would like to think that's because we were aggressive and they were reaching and hacking and they called them. I thought the officiating was fine. I was more frustrated with my kids on some of the fouls they were making."
He also said the Cats could have extended the lead even more with more success from the stripe.
"We weren't able to make free throws down the stretch," he said. "We had a chance to really put the game away. We have to do a better job at the line. It's not a game if we do that. We run away with it."
Compton said the Cats could easily be closer to the top of the conference standings.
"We should have won the Farmington game," he said. "We didn't play well enough to win the Ozark game. When we play all four quarters we will be as good as anyone in the league."