Updated 

Redbugs wear down Pirates, reach regional final


MONTICELLO — The Fordyce boys will get a second chance to win a tournament title at Drew Central High School thanks to a win over the host Pirates on Friday night.

The Redbugs held just a three-point lead at halftime but outscored the Pirates 35-23 over the final two quarters for a 63-48 win in the semifinals of the 3A Region 4 tournament.

“I thought we came out alright,” Fordyce head coach Stan Jones said. “They knew what we wanted to do and we knew what they wanted to do, so I thought early on we were kind of feeling them out. …

“It was kind of like a heavy-weight championship fight.”

Drew Central (12-17) threw the last punch of the first half to pull within 28-25 at the break, but Fordyce (14-7) struck back in the early part of the second half.

“I always tell them, ‘The first five minutes are very important,’” Jones said of the second half. “I wanted them to come out with a lot of intensity and make good decisions.

“I thought we had really good shot selection, and I thought we ran some really good offense tonight.”

The Redbugs got a lot of production out of its starters on Friday night.

Ariyon Sumler finished with 21 points, while Devonte Moore scored 16.

Sophomore Jakeymes Gates had 18 points and hit four three-pointers. Gates hit one of his long-range shots as time expired in the first quarter to give Fordyce a 19-13 lead. He also hit a big three after Drew Central had cut the lead to four points early in the final quarter.

“He’s big-time player,” Jones said of Gates. “… He hates to lose and he’ll do anything in his power to keep that from happening.

“You don’t see that in a lot of players.”

On the other side, the Pirates got some underwhelming performances from their big players.

The trio of seniors Tremaine Newton (10), Edmond Hunter (9) and Dilly Binns (4) finished with just 23 combined points. Binns, who scored 25 in Wednesday’s win over Centerpoint, didn’t score until the fourth quarter.

“We played three sophomores a lot tonight,” Pirates coach C.J. Watson said. “I thought K.J. (Griddine), Mahli (Arrington) and Migeal (Strong) were out three best players tonight.”

Watson said he thinks his team had a hangover after Wednesday’s win qualified them for the 3A state tournament.

“The same thing happened in the district tournament,” Watson said. “We won that game to qualify for the district tournament.

“Then both times (the next game) we just came out flat.”

The win sends Fordyce into the regional championship game at 7:30 p.m. tonight on the same floor it lost the 8-3A district title game on the week before to McGehee.

Drew Central will play in the third-place game at 1:30 p.m.

“It’s a tough bounce-back game,” Watson said. “It’s not the marquee game, but you got to show up.

“It’s a big game. If we lose, we’ll probably be playing the No. 1 team in the state (Episcopal). If we win, we’ll likely play a team we only lost to by two (Harding).”

GIRLS

Fordyce 57, Centerpoint 43

MONTICELLO — Great defense in the middle two quarters helped the Lady Bugs reach the 3A Region 4 tournament championship game.

Fordyce (24-7) held quarter leads of 13-12, 26-20 and 39-25.

The Lady Bugs’ Lacie Hulse scored 12 of her team-high 17 points in the second half.

Tiara Jimerson added 13 for Fordyce, while Markeita Morris and Macy Mosley chipped in with 10 points each.

Laiken Sorrells led Centerpoint, which will face Genoa Central in the third-place game, with 12 points.

Fordyce will face McGehee for the fourth time this season at 6 p.m. Saturday for the title on the same court it beat the Lady Owls on to win the 8-3A district championship.

McGehee 65, Genoa Central 54

MONTICELLO — Shakyla Begnaud played basically the exact opposite of how she played on Wednesday and it helped the Lady Owls to a 3A Region 4 semifinal win.

Begnaud, who had eight points and five fouls in Wednesday’s 42-38 win over Bismarck, had 32 points and just three fouls on Thursday.

McGehee held quarter leads of 18-9, 32-24 and 47-34.

Niesha Henry and Raven Burks both added 10 points for the Lady Owls (15-8).

Lexie Wood led the Lady Dragons with 12 points — all off three-pointers — and Callie Beckham chipped in with 11.

McGehee will play Fordyce at 6 p.m. today in the regional final, while Genoa Central will play Centerpoint for third-place at noon.