Little Rock Hall held off a second-half rally from Sylvan Hills to take home a 51-46 victory from the Bear Den in Sherwood on Friday night.
"At the end, we had a group of juniors out there, and they were able to show their composure really well," Hall Coach Jon Coleman said. "Our guards were able to get the ball into our bigs to make plays, and we hit our free throws when we needed them."
Hall (20-5, 9-3 6A-5A-4 Conference) scored the game's first nine points and led by as many as 12 in the first half, but Sylvan Hills came back to take a 35-34 lead at the end of the third quarter and led 42-41 after two free throws by freshman guard Caleb Campbell with 2:18 left in the game.
"I was proud of our kids and the effort they gave," Sylvan Hills Coach Kevin Davis said.
"We just had to survive," Coleman said.
Junior center Kevon Cooper hit two free throws to give Hall a 45-43 lead with 1:22 left.
On Sylvan Hill's next possession, freshman forward Jalen Ricks was fouled on the perimeter but drove to the hoop for a slam dunk seconds after an official stopped play. He was called for delay of game -- Sylvan Hills' second of the half -- that resulted in a technical foul. Ricks made one of two free throws for Sylvan Hills, but junior guard Greg Johnson hit both technical foul shots to give Hall a 47-44 lead with 1:02 left.
"That's when you have to show self-discipline," Davis said. "That's when you just hand the ref the ball."
Sylvan Hills (6-20, 0-10) turned the ball over on its next possession, and two free throws by junior guard Jared Smith gave Hall a 49-44 lead with 21.9 seconds left.
Cooper and Johnson each scored 16 points for Hall.
"At times we were complacent, and I think it showed," Coleman said. "I take my hat off to Sylvan Hills. Coach Davis had them ready to play."
Hall held Sylvan Hills scoreless in the first five minutes and led 9-0 after it scored on three consecutive possessions, a run completed by Cooper's slam dunk with 3:24 left in the first quarter.
Senior forward Alex Curry's rebound layup gave Sylvan Hills its first points and cut Hall's lead to 9-2. Another slam by Cooper gave Hall a 13-2 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Sylvan Hills scored on consecutive second-quarter possessions to pull within 17-10 on junior forward Eric Penilla's rebound layup midway through the second quarter. A three-pointer by Curry had Sylvan Hills within 20-15 with 2:59 left.
Hall worked its way inside and led 25-16 after a layup by senior guard Michael Peterson. A layup by Johnson with four seconds left in the first half gave Hall a 27-19 lead at halftime.
Sports on 02/10/2018
Print Headline: LR Hall's juniors show composure