Comeback Cardinals: After 14-point hole, last-minute heroics give Dollarway Invite title

The Dollarway Cardinals rallied from a 14-point deficit to defeat the Tulsa (Okla.) McLain Titans 56-55 Saturday afternoon during the Zebra Invitational at McFadden Gymnasium.

“We were down 14 points and fought back all the way,” Dollarway head coach Ellis Berry said. “We said if we could just cut into the lead, we got a chance to win.”

Dollarway (11-1) trailed 40-26 at half but by the start of the fourth quarter, the Cardinals got within five points.

McLain’s Keandre Jones made two free throws with 3:09 left in the game to give the Titans a 54-49 lead. He got to the line after being fouled on a layup attempt off a steal at half-court.

Dollarway senior DeAaron Adway answered with a bucket underneath to cut the lead to three. Senior Lamarcus Hawkins made one of two from the line with 2:07 left in the game to cut the deficit to 54-52.

After a free throw gave McLain a 55-52 lead, Hawkins scored on a stolen pass to get it within one. A stolen inbound pass led to a quick score by Davonne Chapman and the Cardinals’ first lead since the first quarter at 56-55 with about 32 seconds left.

McLain had a chance to win the game but a solid defensive stand by Dollarway forced an errant shot from beyond the arch — which didn’t even touch the rim.

“We told them to just sit back in our 2-3 zone, make sure we kept [Jones] and [Demetri Walker] in front of us,” Berry said. “Make them make the play. Make sure he didn’t penetrate or kick it out.”

With the win over the Titans, Dollarway finished the round-robin tournament undefeated after already scoring wins over Dumas and Watson Chapel.

The Cardinals beat Pine Bluff at home last week and blew out White Hall at a tournament in Fordyce in November for a 3-0 season sweep of the greater Pine Bluff rivals.

Chapman finished with 22 points was awarded the tournament’s Most Valuable Player award.

“He has been big for us the whole time and scoring in double figures,” Berry said. “He presents a problem for everybody.

“I think his lowest point total of the tournament was 13 or 14.”

The Cardinals got off to a good start, jumping out to a 9-3 lead in the first quarter, including four points from Chapman.

Adway contributed with 10 points.

McLain took its first lead of the game at 13-11 when Walker hit a three-pointer from the left side. He was fouled on his next three-point attempt, but managed to just make one of three free throws.

Walker finished with 17 points, including four three-pointers.

Dollarway struggled at the free throw line, knocking down just 7 of 20 in the first half. In the second half, the Cardinals were 6 of 11.

Dollarway will travel to face 2-4A Conference foe Heber Springs on Jan. 4.