NORTH LITTLE ROCK -- Springdale High's boys were on the verge of losing their lead before Vincent Mason came through on both sides of the court.
The junior forward delivered a clutch bucket to end a Bryant run, then added a couple of blocks and clutch rebounds late as the Bulldogs earned a fourth meeting with 7A-West Conference rival Fayetteville by defeating the Hornets, 51-38, in the opening round of the Class 7A State Tournament.
"Vincent is a really good athlete for us," Springdale coach Jeremy Price said. "He can cover a lot of ground with his length and athleticism, and he gets to the basket very well. He's been a great addition to us, and he came off the bench and was very productive. He'll have to do it again (today)."
Springdale (17-11) owned a 41-30 lead after a Carl Fitch bucket with 6 minutes, 16 seconds remaining, but Bryant's defense made things interesting. The Hornets, aided by their pressure defense, scored the next nine points and made it a 41-38 game on Khalen Robinson's two free throws with 4:25 remaining.
Bryant (16-12), however, never scored again, and Mason broke a 3-minute Springdale scoring drought on a bucket inside at the 3:15 mark. Fitch then added a bucket, and the Bulldogs added six free throws in the final 40 seconds to seal the victory.
"We can't make shots around the basket, and we can't hit from 3," Bryant coach Mike Abrahamson said. "The reality is with the team I've got, we have to score some. We want to keep the energy up, and it's really hard to overcome not scoring.
"And Springdale's really tough. They were in our face all night long, and I give them credit. They were really good defensively. It seemed like they were in our face the entire game."
Trentez Scales had 14 points to lead Springdale, which plays Fayetteville in a 5:30 p.m. quarterfinal today, while Mason and Fitch added 12 apiece. Robinson was the only Bryant player in double figures with 14.
Bentonville High 46, Cabot 37
Michael Shanks had 16 points to lead Bentonville, which built a double-digit lead after holding Cabot without a field goal for more than 8 minutes in the second half.
The Tigers (17-9), who led 23-18 at halftime after an Asa Hutchinson 3-pointer at the buzzer, opened the second half with six straight for a 33-22 cushion before Cabot (18-11) picked up a 3-pointer by Jacob Hudson with 2:08 left in the third quarter. The Panthers, however, didn't hit another bucket until Jalen Brown hit a 3-pointer with 1:30 remaining, and Bentonville had a 42-27 lead at that moment.
Hutchinson added 12 for the Tigers, who play Fort Smith Northside in an 8:30 p.m. quarterfinal today. Brown finished with 12 to lead Cabot.
Bentonville West 72, Fort Smith Southside 62
West needed a fourth-quarter comeback to record the first state tournament win in school history, and the Wolverines did just that, outscoring Southside 17-3 over the last 3 1/2 minutes of Wednesday's late game.
Collier Blackburn scored five straight points to begin a 10-0 run, including the bucket that put West (19-9) ahead 60-59 with 2:04 remaining. The Wolverines added five more with free throws, then Blackburn followed a Taye Gatewood free throw with a three-point play to extend West's lead to 68-60 with 33.9 seconds remaining.
Blackburn led five West players in double figures with 17 points, followed by Gabe Hornsby with 15 and Dillon Bailey with 11 while Garrett Wilmot and Boston Barron added 10 apiece. Ike Moore, one of three players to foul out for Southside (15-14) in the fourth quarter, had 19 points, while Gatewood added 17 and Ollis Brewer chipped in 11.
Preps Basketball on 03/01/2018
Print Headline: Bulldogs' late stand stymies Hornets