MONTICELLO — McGehee coach Jerome Pace and the Owls got the important game out of the way Wednesday night.
The McGehee needed a win over Fouke in the first round of the 3A Region 4 tournament to qualify for the state tournament and avoid a season-ending loss.
Fittingly, it was an 18-0 run in the first quarter that helped the Owls move to 18-0 on the season with an 82-52 win over the Panthers.
“You know coaches we’re never satisfied,” Pace said. “We could have played a whole lot better.”
After McGehee had taken a 4-0 lead on a putback by Ryan Berry, who had 10 points, and two free throws by Evander Bailey, Fouke answered with a pair of layups by Peyton Sanders to tie the score.
The No. 1 seed Owls followed with an 18-0 run that put most thoughts of an upset to rest.
The run, which Tracey Lawson started with a putback, saw six different McGehee players tally points. A free throw from David Shepard, who finished with 11 points, following an and-one layup gave the Owls a 22-4 lead before Fouke’s Jake Garrett ended the outburst with a three-pointer.
By the end of the first quarter McGehee held a 30-12 lead and eight Owls had scored points.
Pace sat his starters for much of the second quarter, which allowed Fouke to cut the lead to single-digits (44-35) at one point.
McGehee answered with a layup by Davondrick Lison to enter halftime with a 46-35 lead.
For Fouke, Dusty Gardner scored eight of his game-high 20 points in the second quarter and Garrett scored eight of his 11 in the period.
“Fans don’t like seeing it,” Pace said of playing his reserves. “They don’t like seeing a 20-point lead dropping to 10, but if I don’t put them in, they won’t have any game experience.
“They need to play in games like this if they’re going to help us down the way.”
With the starters back in, McGehee outscored Fouke 23-7 in the third quarter. Bailey scored eight of his 13 points in the quarter, while Lawson scored seven of his 13 points in the period.
“I had them play the whole third quarter,” Pace said of his starters. “I thought they played pretty good together.
“Hoping to give them some time together as a unit.”
Despite McGehee’s big lead, the fourth quarter was not without drama.
Following a steal, Lison was tackled by Fouke’s Kaleb Lee as he went up for what was probably going to be a dunk attempt.
Lison twisted his ankle on the play, while Lee, who had 11 points, was called for an intentional foul and ejected from the game.
“Hopefully it won’t swell,” Pace said. “… If it don’t have any swelling, we’ll be OK.
“If it does, then we might have an issue.”
With the win, McGehee will face the winner of tonight’s Prescott-Smackover game in the semifinals at 8:30 p.m. Friday.
“I don’t really like the layoff myself,” Pace said. “We get a day off, but you know the other team is kind of on a streak.
“Hopefully it will work to our advantage, because it will give us a look at our opponents.
“You won’t see everything, but maybe you’ll pick up on one or two of their favorite tendencies.”
Drew Central 83, Centerpoint 57
MONTICELLO — Drew Central senior Dilly Binns outscored Centerpoint by himself in the Pirates’ huge first quarter of their upset win.
Binns, who finished with 25 points, scored 15 in the opening period as No. 4 seed Drew Central took a 27-14 lead into the second quarter.
Binns didn’t score in the second quarter, but Edmond Hunter picked up the slack. The senior scored eight of his 25 points in the second to help the Pirates take a 44-29 halftime lead.
Mahli Arrington scored 16 for Drew Central (12-16), while Tremaine Newton added 10.
Chase Beebe led No. 1-seeded Centerpoint, which had its season end, with 14 points and Brunt Tanner added 12.
The win sends Drew Central into the 3A Region 4 semifinals and qualifies the Pirates for the 3A state tournament. Drew Central will play in the semifinals at 5:30 p.m. Friday against the winner of Thursday’s Fordyce-Bismarck game.
Fordyce 61, Fouke 27
MONTICELLO — A stifling defense helped Fordyce reach the semifinals of the 3A Region 4 tournament and earn a berth in the state tournament.
No. 1 seed Fordyce (23-7) held quarter leads of 11-6, 31-13 and 46-23.
Lacie Hulse scored 21 points to lead the Lady Bugs, who will play the winner of Thursday’s Centerpoint-Drew Central game at 7 p.m. Friday.
Makeita Morris (13) and Mekeisha Brown (10) also reached double-figures for Fordyce.
McCainey Huff led No. 4 seed Fouke with 12 points as the Lady Panthers’ season came to an end.
Also, Genoa Central defeated Camden Harmony Grove, 59-27, and will play the winner of Thursday’s McGehee-Bismarck game at 4 p.m. Friday.