MONTICELLO — Monticello let a late lead slip away and missed out on a chance to play in the championship game of its own tournament.
On the other side, Little Rock Central made the plays down the stretch to earn a 49-46 win in the semifinals of the Commercial Bank SEARK Holiday Tournament at Monticello High School.
“(We didn’t play) very well to be perfectly honest,” said Billies head coach Wayne Sherrer. “I thought we were tight.
“I thought our passing and decision-making was not very good at all.”
A basket by Chris Robertson with 3:33 remaining gave Monticello (7-3) its biggest lead at 43-40, but Central’s Kelton Wilbert countered with four straight to give his team a slender lead.
The Billies regained the lead on a huge putback dunk by D.J. Franklin, but it would be the last lead they would hold.
Central’s Shawn Corrothers converted a traditional three-point play, including an acrobatic layup, to give the Tigers a 47-45 lead.
With 46.6 remaining, DeShawn McGowan narrowed the lead to one on a free throw, but two free throws from Central’s Marcus Dorch restored the Tigers’ three-point advantage.
Monticello had two chances to tie the game, but those ended with a turnover and a missed shot from three-quarters court.
“We just made poor decisions with the basketball,” Sherrer said. “Even though we didn’t play well, we got in position to control the game.
“We didn’t play with poise. They played looser and with more poise.”
Franklin and McGowan led Monticello with nine points each, while Robertson added eight.
Monticello will face cross-town foe Drew Central in the third-place game at 5:15 p.m. Monday at Steelman Fieldhouse. The Billies defeated the Pirates 66-34 in a meeting earlier this season at Drew Central.
“Just grow up and learn to play in crucial situations,” Sherrer said of what his team needs to improve. “A lot of teams can win by 20 (points).
“But can you win by three or four? Do you have the courage and poise to play in tight ballgames.
“We haven’t showed that we can do that. We need to show we can play with courage in tight situations.”
Corrothers finished with a game-high 21 points and Wilbert chipped in with 10.
Central will take on Jacksonville in Monday’s championship game at Steelman Fieldhouse. The game is set to tip off at 8:05 p.m.
McGehee 59, Dollarway 33
MONTICELLO — The Lady Owls advance to the championship game after dominating the Lady Cardinals.
Shaklya Begnaud enjoyed her second big game of the tournament. After dropping 30 points against Dumas on Friday, Begnaud scored 20 points against Dollarway.
Taia Brown (15) and Niesha Henry (11) joined Begnaud in double-figures.
McGehee will face Little Rock McClellan at 6:40 p.m. Monday at Steelman Fieldhouse.
Dollarway, which was led by Jayana Sanders’ 16 points, will face Monticello for third place at 3:50 Monday at Steelman Fieldhouse.
Little Rock McClellan 40, Monticello 30
MONTICELLO — A solid defensive effort couldn’t help the Lady Billies overcome a poor offensive output.
Monticello led 13-10 after one quarter and 23-16 at halftime, but the Lady Billies only mustered seven second-half points, including just one point in the third quarter.
McClellan led 28-24 heading into the fourth and hit six free throws to help pull away at the end.
Monticello, which was led by Yasmine Franklin’s 13 points, will face Dollarway in Monday’s consolation final.
McClellan, which was led by Darryona Armstrong’s 12 points, will face McGehee in Monday’s championship game.
Hamburg 61, Rison 53
MONTICELLO — The Lady Wildcats couldn’t overcome a poor first quarter in dropping their second game of the tournament.
Hamburg led Rison 17-6 in the first quarter, 27-24 at halftime and 42-33 after three quarters.
Kaklyn Mason scored a game-high 24 points for Rison, which finishes the tourney in seventh place.
Jaz Charleston had 16 points to lead Hamburg, which will face Dumas in the consolation final at 1 p.m. Monday at Steelman Fieldhouse.