Surviving Storms: Pine Bluff overcomes delay, quick start by Texarkana


The Pine Bluff Zebras survived two storms Tuesday night as they routed the Texarkana Razorbacks 62-39 at McFadden Gymnasium.

Texarkana jumped out to a 12-4 lead in the first quarter and the game was put on hold in the third quarter following a tornado warning which forced teams and fans to seek shelter in the locker rooms.

Once play resumed with 6:54 in the third, Pine Bluff (9-7, 5-2 7A-6A South) went on a 17-7 run to extend its lead to 13 by the end of the third quarter.

“We relied too much on dribble penetration,” Pine Bluff head coach Carl Smith said. “(Texarkana) found a little rhythm and we couldn’t get them out of it.”

Texarkana (11-12, 3-5) led 21-13 by the end of the first quarter thanks to nine points from LaDonte Cursh.

Pine Bluff regained the lead right before halftime when freshman Ladarius Skelton hit a three-pointer from the left side to give the Zebras a 29-27 leading heading into the break.

“We made a little adjustment at halftime,” Smith. “We stopped the penetration and saw what they could do from the outside.

“And it went in our favor.”

Midway through the third quarter, senior Darrian Kee grabbed an offensive rebound and putback to increase the Zebras’ lead to 38-30. He followed that with a three-pointer and senior Cameron Jackson scored to give Pine Bluff a 43-32 lead.

Senior Tyrone Payne had back-to-back baskets to give the Zebras a 47-34 lead.

Heading into Tuesday’s game, Pine Bluff was tied with Little Rock Fair with two losses in the conference. With the win, Pine Bluff has a strong chance of finishing in second place in conference unless the Benton Panthers drop off in the second half of the conference season.

“It keeps us alive in the conference,” Smith said. “Look like we are going to try to hang on for second, unless somebody can get a loss on Benton.

“We can go up there and return the favor.”

Senior Rickey Clements led the Zebras with 20 points. His dunk in the fourth quarter gave the Zebras a 57-39 lead. He quickly followed the dunk with a three-pointer from the top of the key.

“He has been having a couple of down games,” Smith said. “Tonight, he came out and hit some shots and took it to the glass.

“He had a good game for us tonight.”

Kee scored 11 points and Payne contributed with 10 points. For Texarkana, Cursh finished with 12 points.

Pine Bluff will play at Bryant on Friday.

GIRLS

Pine Bluff 62, Texarkana 37

The Pine Bluff Fillies beat injury-stricken Texarkana Tuesday night to rebound after Friday’s loss to Benton.

Texarkana (11-11, 1-7 in 7A/6A-South), which had already lost three players to injury before Tuesday’s game, lost another midway through the second quarter.

Junior Ajia Richardson led the Fillies with 17 points. Sophomore Jasmyn Eckermann contributed with 11 points.

Pine Bluff improves to 17-4 and 6-1 in the 7A/6A-South Conference.

Coach Loy Moore said sophomore Kye Richardson is out for the year with a torn ACL. Pine Bluff will play at Bryant on Friday.