PRESCOTT, Ark. – Ashdown’s boys and girls are bound for the 3A state tournament next week.
The Lady Panthers qualified Wednesday afternoon at the Prescott Arena by eliminating McGehee in the regional quarterfinals, 64-50. Ashdown’s boys followed suit afterwards with a 72-39 rout over Rison.
Ashdown’s girls play Dumas or Centerpoint Friday in the semifinals. The boys (23-1) put their record on the line against defending state champion McGehee or Centerpoint, who play Thursday.
“I know McGehee has two or three starters back from its state championship team,” said Ashdown coach James Smith. “My biggest worry is our kids keep hearing they’ve only lost one game. We can’t let that get in our heads. If we lose next week we’re done. I do believe we’ll be more relaxed after beating Rison, and know we’re going to state.”
Panthers never trailed against Rison
The Panthers roared out to a 7-0 lead and never looked back. The lead was 18-8 at the end of the first quarter, and it never got closer than that.
“We played well in spots,” said Smith. “We didn’t play very well defensively, didn’t move our feet a lot. We’re going to have to play better. We got a double-digit lead tonight and sort of eased off. Rison was as athletic as I expected, but they didn’t shoot the ball well from the outside.”
Senior standout Kaiden Hunter buried a couple of 3-pointers in the first quarter, scoring eight of his game-high 23 points. Lamar Wilkerson had a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds, while Notoris Nelson poured in 14 points, 12 in the fourth quarter.
Jefferson Marshall was the only Rison player in double-digits with 12 points.
Greenlee sparks Lady Panthers’ victory
Ashdown’s girls also jumped out to an early lead (18-10), but couldn’t pull away until the final eight minutes.
The Lady Panthers lead was 29-23 at intermission, and 43-38 going into the fourth quarter. That’s when Jukarra Greenlee and Kenya Wilson took over, with Ashdown scoring 21 points in the final period.
Greenlee scored a game-high 22 points. Adaysia Thompson tallied 14 points, 10 in the first half. Wilson finished with 11 points despite being keyed on the entire game.
Jalissa Harris led McGehee (11-13) with 16 points, including four treys. Kiara Spratt contributed 15 points.