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story.lead_photo.caption Earle celebrates after defeating Quitman 48-43 for the Girls 2A state championship Thursday at Bank of the Ozarks Arena in Hot Springs. The victory gave Earle its second state title in three years. - Photo by Mitchell PE Masilun

HOT SPRINGS — There was nothing attractive about the shooting performance in the Class 2A girls state final Thursday, but for Earle, all’s well that ends well.

The Lady Bulldogs overcame a poor shooting effort by dominating the interior and getting an all-around performance from RoShala Scott to knock off Quitman 48-43 in front of a crowd of 2,789 at Bank of the Ozarks Arena in Hot Springs.

“This one is special, really special,” Earle Coach Corey Garrett said. “It wasn’t the best game or the best-looking game that we’ve played, but we were still able to get the victory. To me, that’s the most important thing.”

The victory gave Earle (30-5) its second state title in three years, but the Lady Bulldogs had a little more incentive in this one. Quitman beat Earle in the semifinals last season en route to winning the championship, and Garrett admitted his team was more than ready for the rematch.

Scott, a junior guard, finished with a game-high 20 points and pulled down 11 rebounds on her way to earning Most Valuable Player honors. Senior forward Alexandria Logan added 16 points and 11 rebounds for Earle, which shot just 19 of 63 (30 percent) from the field but seized a 32-14 edge on points in the paint and a 51-39 advantage on the glass. Freshman guard Colbi Maples chipped in 7 points and 8 rebounds.

Gallery: Girls 2A Basketball Championship

“They definitely had the advantage inside, and we didn’t do a good job of keeping them off the boards,” Quitman Coach Tim Hooten said. “The girls fought to the end, but we just didn’t have enough. We didn’t make shots when we needed to make them, and Earle did.”

Sophomore forward Lucy Holland had 18 points and 16 rebounds for Quitman (35-4), which had won 11 in a row. Senior guard Rieley Hooten added 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Earle was 4-of-23 shooting in the first quarter, and at one point, missed 11 consecutive shots. Quitman didn’t fare much better, misfiring on 12 of its 13 field-goal attempts. It didn’t connect on its first basket until 1:51 was left in the period. Despite shooting 8 of 44 (18 percent) for the game, the defending champions were able to hang around.

Earle led 10-7 after the first eight minutes but pushed that margin to 17-9 on a layup from Maples with 4:08 showing, but Quitman got a spark from guard Josey Bradley. The junior collected back-to-back steals, with both leading to buckets, to start an 8-2 run.

“Hustle and effort,” Tim Hooten said. “[Josey] came in and got us going a little bit by getting after it. Those two turnovers kinda gave us a lift because up until that point, we were struggling.”

Two free throws from Holland with 1:38 left trimmed Quitman’s deficit to 19-17, but Earle regrouped to take a 23-19 lead into halftime.

Quitman didn’t make a shot in the third quarter, yet found itself down just 33-31 going into the fourth quarter. Quitman hit 12 of 16 shots from the foul line to offset a big period from Scott, who scored eight points in the quarter.

A basket from Rieley Hooten to open the fourth quarter tied the game at 33-33, and Quitman later grabbed a 38-37 lead after a short jumper from senior guard Savannah Henry with 3:04 remaining.

Garrett instructed his team to continue to attack inside.

“They weren’t nervous at all,” he said. “They felt a sense of urgency, and I kept encouraging them that we needed to make some layups to create some separation. With all the shots we were missing, we were keeping [Quitman] in the ballgame.

“They may have lost focus there a little bit in the third quarter because of the foul situation and the free throws that Quitman was getting, but I told them to just keep playing.”

Logan answered Henry’s basket with an 8-footer on the ensuing possession to give Earle a 39-38 lead. The teams traded scores over the next two minutes before Scott hit a free throw with 23 seconds showing to give the Lady Bulldogs a 46-43 lead. Quitman turned the ball over on its next trip, and Scott knocked down two more free throws to put the game away.

“This is the way we wanted to play,” Brown said. “We had to keep our mindset of doing whatever it took to win, and we did.”

At a glance

CLASS 2A GIRLS

STATE TOURNAMENT SCORES

CHAMPIONSHIP

Earle 48, Quitman 43

SEMIFINALS

Earle 64, Caddo Hills 27 Quitman 58, Johnson Co. Westside 50

QUARTERFINALS

Caddo Hills 55, Bigelow 47 Earle 58, Poyen 31 Quitman 65, Carlisle 56 Johnson Co. Westside 46, Spring Hill 31

FIRST ROUND

Bigelow 66, Brinkley 49 Poyen 66, Hackett 39 Carlisle 51, Murfreesboro 37 Johnson Co. Westside 58, Marmaduke 46

Notebook

MVP

ROSHALA SCOTT

EARLE

Junior guard RoShala Scott went 8 of 24 from the floor and hit 3 of 7 from the free-throw line for Earle, which won its second state championship in the past three years. Scott, who was also the MVP of the 2016 title game, also had 11 rebounds (8 of which were defensive rebounds), 1 assist and 1 steal in 31 minutes.

AND ONES

Corey Garrett has lost just 40 games in his five seasons as Earle’s head coach. … Earle shot 23 percent (9 of 39) in the first half but went 10 of 24 (42 percent) over the final two quarters. … The Lady Bulldogs made just 15 trips to the free-throw line compared to 37 for Quitman. … Quitman didn’t have any fast-break points in the game. … Three of Quitman’s four losses were to teams in championship games (Earle, Wonder-view twice). … Quitman made four baskets after halftime. … Earle started just one senior while Quitman started three.

EARLE 48, QUITMAN 43

Quoteable

“I don’t know if anyone expected us to win the championship in 2016, but this one right here, the girls expected to win. I don’t want to sound cocky, but they felt like we gave one away last year. We felt like we were the better team last year, and we’re the better team this year.”

Earle Coach Corey Garrett

2A girls scorebook

QUITMAN M FG FT O-R PF A PTS

As.Johnson 15 0-2 4-6 1-1 5 0 4 R.Hooten 32 1-7 8-13 2-10 3 1 10 Henry 17 2-3 1-2 1-3 4 1 5 N.Hooten 32 0-12 0-0 1-3 3 0 0 Holland 32 4-8 10-10 4-16 3 0 18 Au.Johnson 23 0-5 2-4 0-1 1 0 2 Smith 4 0-3 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 Trawick 0 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 Bradley 3 1-3 2-2 0-0 0 0 4 Rackley 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 Team 4-5

Totals 160 8-44 27-37 13-39 19 2 43

PCT. — FG 18.2, FT 73.0. 3-PT. — 0-14, 0.0 (Smith 0-1, Trawick 0-1, As. Johnson 0-2, R. Hooten 0-2, N. Hooten 0-4, Au.Johnson 0-4). BL — 2 (As. Johnson 1, N. Hooten 1). TO — 13 (As. Johnson 4, R. Hooten 4). ST — 8 (Au. Johnson 3).

EARLE M FG FT O-R PF A PTS

Scott 31 8-24 3-7 3-11 3 1 20 Brown 26 1-14 1-3 4-7 4 1 3 Childs 15 1-1 0-0 0-1 3 1 2 Maples 28 3-12 0-0 4-8 2 1 7 Moore 12 0-0 0-0 0-1 4 0 0 Logan 18 6-9 4-4 6-11 5 0 16 Mathis 5 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 0 0 Toombs 18 0-0 0-1 2-4 1 0 0 Hughey 7 0-3 0-0 0-1 2 0 0 Team 4-7

Totals 160 19-63 8-15 23-51 25 4 48

PCT. — FG 30.2, FT 53.3. 3-PT. — 2-6, 33.3 (Maples 1-2, Scott 1-3, Brown 0-1). BL — 2 (Brown 1, Maples 1). TO — 11 (Scott 4). ST — 6 (Scott, Brown, Childs, Moore, Logan, Toombs)

Quitman ..........7 12 12 12 — 43 Earle ............10 13 10 15 — 48 Officials — Wiley, Thacker, Moultree

Technicals — None

Attendance — 2,789

Photo by Mitchell PE Masilun
Earle’s Alexandra Logan (left) and Quitman’s Rieley Hooten collide as they dive for a loose ball during the Girls 2A state championship Thursday at Bank of the Ozarks Arena in Hot Springs.
Photo by Staton Breidenthal
Earle’s RoShala Scott finished with a game-high 20 points and pulled down 11 rebounds to earn MVP honors in Thursday’s 48-43 victory over Quitman.
Photo by Mitchell PE Masilun
Earle’s Elijha Brown dives for a loose ball during the Lady Bulldogs’ 48-43 victory over Quitman in the Class 2A girls final Thursday. See more photos at arkansasonline.com/galleries

Print Headline: Double dipping: Poor shooting not problem for Earle

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