With one of its star freshmen out, another one rose to the occasion for Springdale on Wednesday.
Isaiah Sealy finished with 25 points, 12 rebounds and 4 steals to send the Bulldogs to a 57-47 win over Cabot during the first round of the Class 6A boys state tournament inside Gryphon Arena at Little Rock Southwest.
Anthony Thomas, a sophomore, had 11 of his 13 points in the second half for Springdale (19-8), which was forced to go without standout ninth-grader Courtland Muldrew for the third consecutive game after he broke his thumb in a win over 6A-West champion Fayetteville on Feb. 18. But Sealy, along with others, moved to the forefront for the Bulldogs, and it helped push them past the Panthers and into a second-round matchup with top-ranked North Little Rock on Friday.
"Cabot came out and played really well," Springdale Coach Jeremy Price said. "They kind of hit us in the mouth. But we made some adjustments and hit some shots. That finally got some life in us, and we were able to finish the game."
Tevin Tate had 12 points and eight rebounds as the Bulldogs rallied in the second half and withstood a strong outing from Cabot's Landenn Sitzmann to prolong its season.
Sitzmann, who had 18 points, scored nine points in the first half to stake the Panthers out to a 26-21 lead at halftime.
Cabot (9-19), the No. 5 seed from the 6A-Central, increased its margin to 34-26 by the 4:09 mark of the period, thanks to eight points from Sitzmann. Sealy, though, wouldn't allow the Panthers to spurt away.
After scoring four points in the first half, the 6-6 freshman hit three consecutive three-pointers during an 11-2 run, including one while falling down that gave the Bulldogs a 37-36 lead.
Cabot answered with two three-pointers in a row from Sitzmann and Brandon Bennett to wrestle away the advantage, but Thomas countered with a long jumper and Sealy rattled in a deep three to tie it at 42-42 after three quarters.
The game was tied 46-46 with 4:21 remaining in the fourth, but another three-pointer from Thomas kickstarted a closing 11-1 burst. Cabot made just 2 of 11 shots in the fourth.
LITTLE ROCK CENTRAL 62, ROGERS 36
A stirring second quarter got Central (17-11) off and running to a win in its tournament opener.
Annor Boateng had 16 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks for the Tigers, who were down 19-18 with 5:56 left in the first half but scored 16 of the final 18 points of the quarter to take a 15-point lead.
Rogers (8-18) did scuffle its way back in the game in the third and trailed 43-34 after a leaner from Alonzo Porchia. But the Tigers got a dunk Boateng -- one of his six on the night -- to push its lead to 11.
Central then held Rogers to just one field goal in the fourth to maintain a comfortable advantage.
Cody Robinson scored 14 points, Gavin Snyder had 11 points and Luke Moore ended with 10 points for Central, which will face Bentonville West on Friday.
Ty Cunningham had 10 points and Joel Garner added 9 points and 7 rebounds for the Mounties.