FARMINGTON -- The Farmington Lady Cardinals needed a well-rounded effort on their home court to beat Vilonia when the two teams squared off in the 5A-West Conference championship game Friday night.
They got just that, holding off the Lady Eagles for a 63-56 victory.
5A-WEST CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT
Farmington 63, Vilonia 56
Farmington: Pense 18, Vanzant 15, Tidwell 11, Roach 8, Culpepper 5, Jones 4, Journagan 2
Vilonia: Kelley 35, Patterson 8, Beaty 6, Cash 4
HARRISON 58, ALMA 53
Harrison: Young 27, Jernigan 13, Youngblood 13, Elliot 4, Ditmanson 1
Alma: Johnson 19, Jensen 11, Wood 8, Shelton 7, Stahler 6, Bailey 2
"It's great for our fans, and I think we've got one of the best student sections in the state," Farmington coach Brad Johnson said. "Our community embraces basketball. They've embraced us from the beginning. To be able to do this on our home floor and salute them, there's no more special feeling than that."
The Lady Cards were led by junior guard Madisyn Pense, who poured in 18 points and two rebounds. She drilled big 3-pointers down the stretch when her team needed them.
"I've been working on my shot a lot," Pense said. "It's a good feeling, but knowing I have teammates around me who can score makes it even better."
Farmington had to weather Vilonia's second-half run that cut the lead to two with only 2 minutes remaining. The Lady Eagles made it a point to get the ball to sophomore forward Paige Kelley, who dominated down low and finished with a whopping 35 points on the night. She also had seven rebounds and three assists.
"I don't know that we've stopped her yet," Johnson jokingly said. "She's a great player. We had to lean on our depth at the forward spot and commit almost a player and a half to that kid all night long, and obviously we fouled her a bunch."
While Kelley's night stands out on the box score, much of her success actually had to do with Farmington locking up Vilonia's guards, Johnson said.
"I thought our guards did a great job defensively, because their guards are talented," Johnson said. "It's a catch-22 with them; you're gonna have to give up something, and Kelley played well."
Farmington sophomore guard Makenna Vanzant had a big night, as well, scoring 15 points in the winning effort. She added four assists and four rebounds to fill the stat sheet.
"Vanzant was pressured all night long, and if she got a turnover, I don't remember it," Johnson said. "She really controlled the pace and the game. Pense just did what she does, and that's make big shots."
Sophomore forward Joelle Tidwell was Farmington's third and final double-digit scorer, dropping in 11 to help her team win.
In the third-place game that was played earlier in the day, Clarksville beat Harrison 55-42.
Boys: Harrison 58, Alma 53
In a battle between two of the best teams in the 5A West conference, the Harrison Goblins rode a strong performance by senior forward Skyler Young to earn a 58-53 victory and a conference championship Friday night.
Young finished with 27 points and played with a level of energy his team needed to finish on top. The senior proved to be a problem for Alma on the boards, racking up a number of offensive rebounds that turned into baskets.
While Alma started finding an offensive groove in the second half, Harrison did enough in the first half to quell any real comeback attempts. The Airedales got as close as six in the second half, but the Goblins stuck to their guns and fended them off.
Junior guard Carson Jernigan and senior guard Colton Youngblood added 13 apiece to help Harrison finish business. On the other side, senior guard Brayden Johnson had 19 to lead the Airedales. Senior guard Garrison Jensen had 11 in the losing effort.
In the third-place game, Morrilton held off Greenbrier for a 49-47 victory.
Preps Basketball on 02/24/2018
Print Headline: Farmington's effort enough to claim 5A-West title