Zebras close Invitational with rout

The Pine Bluff Zebras used a 16-0 run in the second quarter to separate themselves from the Brinkley Tigers and win 65-36 Saturday in the final game of the Zebra Invitational at McFadden Gymnasium.

“We tried to be aggressive on defense,” Pine Bluff interim coach Carl Smith said. “We try to teach them to always be aggressive on defense, no matter who the opponent is or whatever.

“You got to be aggressive.”

With 5:53 left in the second quarter, Brinkley cut the deficit to three points thanks to a pair of free throws. But Pine Bluff (5-5) would go on a 16-0 run, including six points from senior Tyrone Payne to take a 32-13 lead right before half.

After Pine Bluff made a free throw, senior KaVon Cassidy grabbed an offensive rebound and scored to give the Zebras a 17-13 lead. Payne followed with a dunk and senior Rickey Clements scored inside to give Pine Bluff a 25-13 lead.

With about 1:21 left, Payne scored on a layup to give the Zebras a 14-point lead. He followed that with a putback and Clements nailed a three-pointer at the buzzer for a 32-13 lead.

To start the third quarter, Brinkley was able to go on a 7-3 run to get the deficit to 35-20. However, the Tigers wouldn’t score again until the 1:23 mark.

Right before the end of the third quarter, senior Darrian Kee grabbed a loose ball and dunked it in right before the buzzer to give Pine Bluff a 48-21 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

“That’s why you got to stay on them,” Smith said. “They kind of slack off and stuff like that.

“We tell them to go back out there, get in the passing lane and get up and play some defense like you’ve been taught.”

Payne led Pine Bluff with 16 points and Clements contributed with 11 points.