A late push in the fourth quarter extended Dollarway’s lead to double digits and the Cardinals were able to defeat Clinton 55-38 Friday night in Dollarway’s final home game of the season.
“Their record don’t mean anything to Clinton,” Dollarway head coach Ellis “Chief” Berry said. “They are a better ballclub than what their record says.
“… We just got a little bit more coming at them and they just couldn’t stop us.”
With the victory, the Cardinals finish in first place in the 2-4A Conference for their third straight regular-season championship and earn the No. 1 seed in next week’s district tournament at Marianna.
After Clinton (8-16, 1-13) hit a three-pointer to cut Dollarway’s (14-3, 12-2) lead to 39-35 in the fourth quarter, senior Joshua Liddell, who signed to play football with Arkansas last week, grabbed an offense rebound and put-back to push the lead to 41-35 with 5:41 left.
A three-pointer by senior Gujuan Christmas and a bucket by senior Kamaree Ento gave the Cardinals a 46-35 lead. Kabion Ento then followed with a scored of his own and Liddell made 1 of 2 from the line to give Dollarway a 49-35 lead with 3:28 left to play.
On the following possession, Liddell scored on a layup to cap off the 10-0 run and give Dollarway the 16-point lead.
“Our defense down the stretch (was the difference),” Berry said. “We went back to the one we started in and that’s what got us going in the end.”
Dollarway was 22 of 59 from the floor and 5 of 9 from the free-throw line. Clinton outrebound Dollarway 31-25 but the Cardinals forced 26 turnovers.
“We just didn’t score off them like we should have,” Berry said. “When we came out, we mishandled the ball and gave it back to them.
“We should have scored more off turnovers.”
With 1:41 left in the game, Christmas hit a layup to go up 53-38 and Liddell capped the scoring with a steal and a dunk.
Christmas finished with a game-high 17 points. Kabion Ento and Liddell contributed with seven and Kamaree Ento chipped in with six.
“If (Christmas) just let the game come to him, instead of trying to force everything, that’s the kind of game he would have every night,” Berry said.
Dollarway struggled in the second quarter, making just four baskets from the floor, but it was enough to maintain its slim lead.
Heading into the quarter, the Cardinals led the Yellowjackets 11-8 and a pair of free throws by Kendrick Hunter with 6:37 left in the half pushed it to 13-8.
A technical foul was called on Kabion Ento for hanging onto the rim and Clinton made both of its free throws to get within three points.
With the score 15-13 in favor of Dollarway, Cameron Girley forced a hook shot that went win and gave the Cardinals a 17-13 lead. An offensive rebound and put-back by sophomore Christopher Slater extended the lead to 19-13 with 2:34 left in the half.
Dollarway sophomore Keshun Douglas hit a three-pointer from the top of the key and the Cardinals led the Yellowjackets 22-13 by the end of the first half.
Clinton outscored Dollarway 17-6 in the first quarter and never looked back as the Lady Yellowjackets defeated the Lady Cardinals 54-32 in Dollarway’s season finale Friday night.
Clinton improved to 16-8 overall and 9-5 in the 2-4A conference while Dollarway dropped to 2-17 overall and 2-12 in the conference.
Serenity Alexander led Dollarway with 13 points and Jayana Sanders chipped in with six points.