Pine Bluff senior Rickey Clements scored 16 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter as the Zebras defeated Little Rock Fair 69-59 Friday night at McFadden Gymnasium to remain in second place in the 7A/6A- South Conference.
“I think he kind of felt it tonight,” Pine Bluff head coach Carl Smith said. “He had that look in his eyes.
“I think he is coming back around. He was aggressive. He pulled up and hit some jumpers and went from the three-point line.
“Then he took them to the glass. He was hard to guard tonight.”
Clements began the fourth quarter with back-to-back three-pointers to give Pine Bluff a 50-37 lead.
He then knocked down a pair of free throws and later another three-pointer to give Pine Bluff a 52-40 lead with 6:05 left in the game.
Pine Bluff improves to 12-8 overall in 8-3 in conference and Fair drops to 9-12 overall and 6-5 in conference. Benton defeated Texarkana 63-45 Friday night to remain undefeated in the conference.
“Tonight’s win was very important,” Smith said. “You want a high seed, so you can play a lesser opponent and try to get rolling in state.
“We are in second right now and I like our point and I want to try to maintain it.”
Clements’ two free throws at the end of the game gave Pine Bluff the 10-point victory.
Pine Bluff never trailed in the game but after leading as much as 12 points in the second quarter, Fair did trim the lead to six points following a 6-0 run.
“You get six or nine points, I wouldn’t call that no good lead against Fair,” Smith said. “Cause you seen how they shoot the ball and they shoot like that all the time.
“Two little mistakes from you and two three’s from them and they can tie it right back up.”
Alex Bernard led Fair with 25 points, including seven three-pointers.
“We know he going to shoot,” Smith said. “You know a man is going to shoot, you assign somebody, try to keep it out of his hands, attack him when he got and then he shoot it anyway.
“You got to tip your hat off to him. I’m just hoping he can’t make enough to beat us.”
Corey Simmons’ bucket with 5:19 left in the third quarter trimmed Pine Bluff’s lead to 31-28.
After an offensive rebound and putback by Clements and a three-point play from Tyrone Payne, Pine Bluff went back up by eight with 3:52 left in the third.
“We did fairly good,” Smith said. “I was not pleased with the rebounding, but I think we did well.”
Senior Darrian Kee led the Zebras with 24 points. His bucket and free throw with 40.2 seconds left in the third quarter gave Pine Bluff a seven-point lead.
Pine Bluff 56, Fair 17
The Fillies made easy work of Little Rock Fair Friday night as they held the War Eagles to single digits in each quarter in a 56-17 win at McFadden Gymnasium.
Junior Ajia Richardson led Pine Bluff (21-4, 10-1 7A/6A South) with 13 points and senior Victoria Broady contributed with 10 points.
Sophomore Jasmyn Eckermann chipped with eight points and sophomore Jada Taylor scored seven.
Fair drops to 0-18 and 0-11 in conference.
Pine Bluff will play at El Dorado on Tuesday.