Bearcats spoil Jackrabbits’ miracle run


HOT SPRINGS — Brookland had plenty more offense to display Thursday night, and it helped the Bearcats win their first state championship in boys basketball.

Three days after getting past Monticello 22-21 — in overtime, at that — the Bearcats had three players in double figures in posting a 60-50 win over upset-minded Lonoke in the 4A boys final at Summit Arena. The Bearcats had a hard time missing shots early, making 12 of 18 first-half attempts, and finishing the game 17 for 29 (54.3 percent).

Despite 19 points and 10 rebounds by Blake Mack, the Jackrabbits (26-6) of the 2-4A Conference had no answer for the East Region champion Bearcats (28-6), led by MVP Chandler Thompson’s 15 points. William Ballard totaled 10 points and 13 rebounds and Reece Gamling scored 12 for Brookland.

Brookland dominated Dollarway in the East Region final and earned a first-round bye in state, where it survived the defensive struggle against Monticello to reach Hot Springs.

Lonoke (26-6) went into the state tournament as the third seed from the East Region after finishing third in the 2-4A District Tournament. Lonoke upset defending state champion Pottsville and South Region champion Central Arkansas Christian before defeating Nashville to get into the final.

Mack shot 8 for 16 from the floor and pulled down four of his rebounds on offense. But Lonoke made only 19 of 19 from the field (38.8 percent).

Jamel Rankin also had nine points for the Jackrabbits, who trailed 28-18 at the break.

4A GIRLS

Malvern 50, CAC 44

HOT SPRINGS — Alivia Huell scored a go-ahead basket with 2:10 remaining to start a key 7-0 run, and Malvern (30-2) went on to wrap up its second straight state championship with a six-point win over Central Arkansas Christian.

Raven Baker made a steal with 1:47 left and drove for a basket to make it a 44-41 Lady Leopards lead. Malvern then made 4 of 5 free throws, including one by Huell to complete a three-point play with 42 seconds remaining, to put the game out of reach.

Huell was named MVP after scoring 14 points and totaling five rebounds. Baker led the Lady Leopards with 15 points.

For CAC (26-7), Sydnie Jones scored 15 points and pulled down 12 rebounds, Chloe Elkins had 11 points and Falan Miller added 10 points.

CAC led 23-17 at halftime, but Malvern got back in it with a 14-6 third-quarter rally.

7A BOYS

N. Little Rock 89, Springdale 81

HOT SPRINGS — Anton Beard and Kevaughn Allen combined for more than half of the Charging Wildcats’ points Thursday in an eight-point victory, resulting in North Little Rock’s second straight championship.

MVP Beard scored 29 points, making 12 of 23 from the field. Allen had 28 points, making 9 of 14 from the floor and converting all eight of his free throws. K.J. Hill added 12 for North Little Rock (26-2).

Christopher Owens could hardly miss for Springdale (22-6), making 12 of 16 from the floor and finishing with 30 points. Dorantez Evans had 22 points and Tereke Eckwood finished with 14, while Josiah Wymer came close to a double-double with nine points and 12 rebounds.

After trailing by 12 points through one quarter, Springdale pulled within 44-39 at halftime.

7A GIRLS

Conway 74, FS Northside 67

HOT SPRINGS — Jordan Danberry scored a game-high 25 points, converting 11 of 15 from the field, and took home MVP honors as the Wampus Cats (28-5) toppled the Lady Bears (25-4).

Alexis Tolefree canned 4 of 5 from three-point range and finished with 16 for Conway. Asia Willard added 12 and Christin Rogers had 10.

Conway held Northside to 21.4 percent field-goal shooting in the first half and went on a 30-7 run in the second quarter to build a 39-19 halftime lead. But Northside cut it down to 53-47 going into the fourth.

Jillian Myers led Northside with 15 points, Brianna Jackson and Olivia Hanson each had 13 and Kira Shepard added 11.