MILLS 60, LR PARKVIEW 59
Mills continued its string of success against Little Rock Parkview on Thursday night, but it took a big play from its senior leader to do it.
Grehlon Easter's driving lay-up with nine seconds left gave the top-ranked Comets the lead for good as they survived to beat the Patriots 60-59 in the semifinals of the 5A-Central Conference tournament in front of a huge crowd at Maumelle High School.
"That's what he's being doing all season long," Mills Coach Raymond Cooper said of Easter. "He was having the best of games because Parkview was doing a great job of containing him. But when the time came, he stepped up and made the play to put us over the top."
Easter finished with 16 points for Mills (25-2), which has won all three meetings with Parkview this season and have beaten them four consecutive times overall. Freshman guard Madison Peaster added 15 points, including 13 in the first half.
The victory was also the Comets' 24th in a row, and it assured them of no worse than a No. 2 seed in next week's Class 5A state tournament. Mills can lock up the top seed by winning tonight's title game against the winner of Thursday's late semifinal game between Little Rock Fair and Little Rock Christian.
But the Comets had to fight all game just to get in position to win it late.
Senior center Keavon Jones followed Easter's basket by blocking a shot from Parkview senior guard Rod Terry moments later. Jones then added two free throws before a shot from Patriots senior guard C.J. White sailed wide of the rim at the buzzer.
Mills, however, had its share of struggles early. The Comets turned the ball over six times, hit just 3 of their first 12 shots and trailed by as many as 10 points in the first quarter. Parkview snapped a 4-4 tie by reeling off 10 consecutive points, with junior guard Allen Flanigan scoring six, to open up a 14-4 lead.
The Patriots led 21-11 with 6:50 left in the second quarter after a steal and lay-up from Terry but scored just three points the rest of the half.
A short floater from Easter started a 13-0 run that enabled Mills it to grab a 24-21 advantage. Parkview tied it at 24-24 until a free throw from Jones and another basket from Peaster gave the Comets a 27-24 lead at halftime.
"We started off playing too much one-on-one, but we fought back once we settled down," Cooper said. "Parkview has been playing great lately, and I knew this was one game that was going to be a grind and come down to the wire."
The teams went back and forth for the majority of the third quarter and for much of the fourth until Parkview used a 10-2 spurt to grab a 57-52 lead with 1:49 left in the game. But the Patriots didn't score again, and the Comets closed it out by scoring the final eight points.
Flanigan and Terry scored 11 points each for Parkview, which shot 22 of 46 (48 percent) for the game. Mills finished 20 of 47 (43 percent).
LITTLE ROCK CHRISTIAN 46, LITTLE ROCK FAIR 41
— Jeremy Muck
Mykal Moore scored 11 points as Little Rock Christian (21-7) came back to defeat Little Rock Fair (22-5) in a 5A-Central Conference semifinal game. The Warriors trailed 36-35 with four minutes remaining, but Kalin Bennett’s layup gave his team a 37-36 lead.
Justice Hill added nine points for Little Rock Christian, which shot 17 of 40. Deaveon Bankston led the War Eagles, who shot 16 of 29, with 20 points. Little Rock Fair led 10-8 after one quarter, 16-14 at halftime and 29-26 at the end of the third quarter.
Sports on 02/23/2018
Print Headline: Comets turn back the Patriots for a third time