MAGNOLIA -- Mills Coach Raymond Cooper wanted to see more from junior guard Grehlon Easter.
Easter delivered for his coach.
Easter scored 25 points as the Comets defeated Maumelle 75-59 on Friday night in the Class 5A boys state tournament quarterfinals at Panther Arena.
"I challenged him before this tournament," Cooper said. "I told him, 'I've got to have you play big for us. You've got to stay aggressive.' He's been aggressive the first two games. He's stepped up."
Easter also had 25 points in the Comets' victory Thursday over Magnolia.
"We're feeling pretty good," Easter said. "Maumelle is a great team. It will give us more confidence going into the next game."
Mills (29-2) will play Hot Springs at 7:30 p.m. today, with the winner going to the state championships in Hot Springs to play Little Rock Parkview or Sylvan Hills.
Maumelle (27-5) won the 5A-West Conference championship, while Mills earned the No. 2 seed from the 5A-Central Conference.
Cooper was proud of his team's victory, but he didn't want to leave too much time for reflection.
"We're going to go in there [the locker room] and celebrate this one for 25 minutes. Then we've got to move on," Cooper said.
Darious Hall, a University of Arkansas, Fayetteville signee, had 22 points. Quawn Marshall added 11 for the Comets.
After a 5-4 third quarter that saw Mills keep the lead at 46-41 going into the fourth quarter, the Comets stretched their advantage to 60-47 with 5:13 remaining.
Maumelle trimmed the lead to 65-54 on John Word's basket. Mills responded, as Easter converted a three-point play to extend the Comets' advantage to 68-54 with 1:57 to play.
Quan Richardson, who led the Hornets with 19 points, hit a three-pointer to pull his team to within 68-57, but that was as close as Maumelle would get.
Coach Michael Shook said that it was too little, too late for the Hornets.
"They converted. They executed. They outplayed us," Shook said. "They're a really good team. We knew that coming in. We're a good team.
"They made more shots. We didn't."
Tremont Robinson and Rico Lindsey each added 10 points for the Hornets.
HOT SPRINGS 70,
Hot Springs was in control of its Class 5A boys state quarterfinal tournament game Friday night from start to finish.
Exavian Christon, a Louisiana Tech signee, scored 18 points and the Trojans defeated 5A-East Conference champion Nettleton.
Trayvun Gordon had a team-high 21 points for the Trojans, while Paris Harris added 10.
Malik Anderson led the Raiders (21-11) with 19 points. Kevin Fulton had 17 points.
SYLVAN HILLS 52, MORRILTON 43
Taleh Wade hit a go-ahead three-pointer with 3:20 to play in the game and Sylvan Hills (18-13) defeated Morrilton (20-10).
Sylvan Hills will play Little Rock Parkview in the semifinals at 1:30 p.m. today. Parkview defeated Sylvan Hills twice during Class 6A/5A-4 Conference play, 62-37 on Jan. 13 at Parkview and 76-65 at Sylvan Hills.
The Bears trailed 14-7 at the end of the first quarter, 26-19 at halftime and 37-33 at the end of the third quarter. But they outscored the Devil Dogs 19-6 in the fourth quarter.
J.D. Smith, who led Sylvan Hills with 16 points, made a three-pointer with 2:31 left to make it 44-40.
Jacobe Davis had 14 points for the Bears, while Jordan Washington added eight points.
Morrilton was led by Donald Jones and Juwan Moore, who both had 11 points.
Sports on 03/04/2017
Print Headline: Easter responds, shoots Comets by Hornets