By Richard Sharp
Lake Area Sports
QUITMAN-The 2nd Annual Quitman Fast Break Classic got off to hot start this past Saturday from Bulldog Complex as twelve teams from nine different schools including the host varsity squads, Rose Bud, and West Side’s senior boys, took on the challenge of a 30-second shot clock, with the Bulldogs, Lady Ramblers and Eagles all coming out victorious in the elevated pace of gameplay.
Lady Ramblers-48 Dover-37
Rose Bud came through with the first triumph of the day, going up 18-2 after the first eight minutes before the Lady Pirates cut it to 11 heading into the halftime intermission, 26-15. Dover put up their best quarter of the game in the third, outscoring the Lady Ramblers 11-7 to pull even closer at 33-26.
Senior Hope Hartle buried a triple to begin the final session of play, later adding a putback from the left block before junior Amelia Besterfeldt buried a triple to cut it to five at 42-37 with 2:30 left in the game, however free throws down the stretch from sophomore forward Kyndal Rooks sealed the deal.
Rooks, who was recently selected as the Centech Land Services Girls Player of the Week, pumped in a game-high 22 pts for the Lady Ramblers (4-1), as Hartle followed with 13 and Taylor chipped in with 6. Besterfeldt paced Dover (4-2) with 15.
Eagles-85 Maumelle Charter-45
After dropping their first three match-ups of the season, West Side picked up their eighth straight double-digit victory, punishing the Falcons in mercy-rule fashion in a 85-45 decision.
Leading 27-17 after the first eight minutes, the Eagles added on to their advantage with a 22-14 second quarter run to make it 49-31 at the half, as 6’3″ junior forward Malachi Miller dominated from within the paint with multiple finishes from around the basket.
West Side showed no signs of slowing down in the second half, leading 74-41 to enforce the mercy rule at the third quarter break thanks to numerous fast break opportunities out of transition, capping off the affair with an 11-4 fourth quarter to coast to the easy win.
Miller led the way for the Eagles (8-3) with 20, tacking on 15 from junior Nate Bittle, 12 from sophomore Travis Gentry and 11 from junior Jake Ballard to round out a quartet of double-figure scorers. The Falcons (3-4) were paced by senior Schwan Bowman’s 16 and junior Chandler Williams’ 12. West Side has now outscored their last eight opponents by a 587-388 margin, averaging 73.3 points per game while allowing 48.5.
White Hall-57 Ramblers-28
The Bulldog duo of senior Alexander Brawdy and sophomore Tavin Dunlap proved to be too much for the Ramblers in the duel between the two teams, combining to score 36 of White Hall’s 57 total points.
An early 19-10 run for the Bulldogs swelled to 40-13 on a strong second quarter from Brawdy, who muscled his way to 13 points in the eight-minute session, converting and making the most out of the Ramblers’ miscues and turnovers.
Brawdy, who rested the entirety of the final quarter, registered 21 points for White Hall (2-0), adding on Dunlap’s 15. Bates carried the torch for the Ramblers (1-4) with nine, cashing in from beyond the arc twice. Rose Bud will be back in action tomorrow night at 5:45 against the Red Devils of Atkins.
Vilonia JV-47 Lady Bulldogs-45
This showdown came down to the very last shot, which was buried by sophomore Madeleine Tipton to deal the host their first loss in the event in a heartbreaker.
Trailing 11-8 after one quarter, the Lady Eagles cut it to one at 21-20 with under one minute left in the first half, getting a jumper from the free throw line to fall right before the buzzer sounded on the first sixteen minutes.
Bates drained a triple from the top of the key with time winding down on the shot clock before Quitman sophomore guard Taylor Hooten stuck right back with a shot from downtown of her own to begin the second half as both teams continued to battle back and fourth and keep it within five points.
With 41 ticks left in the game and Vilonia in front 45-44, senior Lucy Holland split at the charity stripe to knot it up, as junior forward Brandie Rottman missed the go-ahead turnaround shot in the lane on the ensuing Lady Eagle possession, leaving the door open for the Lady Bulldogs, who came up short on a shot attempt that was battled for and eventually rolled out of bounds and back to Vilonia with 4.5 seconds to go, forcing a Quitman timeout.
The visitors were able to advance the basketball into the front court, taking a timeout of their own with 3.1 left, finding Tipton on a cut to the basket, who would rise up and knock down the buzzer-beating shot from in close to stun the host and steal the win.
Womack 12 Tipton provided 10 for the victors, getting help from Rottman’s 13 and sophomore Abbie Womack’s 12. Senior forward Carson Rackley carried the reins for Quitman with 13 as Hooten followed close behind with 12.
The Lady Bulldogs will look to bounce back this Saturday night against the Atkins Lady Red Devils at 6:00.
The Bulldogs came through with the nightcap victory in what could be a potential 2A Regional Tournament match-up between the two teams come February.
The Panthers found with themselves with an 11-3 after breaking a 3-3 tie before Quitman battled back to pull within two at 14-12 after reigning Centech Land Services Boys Player of the Week Zac Shue banked in a deep triple from professional range at the first quarter horn.
The lead switched hands in the second quarter when Bulldog senior Colin Parson read an inbounds pass and picked it off for an easy two points, getting a putback from Chase Applewhite to give the home squad a slim 26-24 advantage.
Quitman came out of the locker room firing on all cylinders, getting another triple from Shue to fall before classmate Ethan Brantley made his presence felt with drives and finishes at the cup, building a 49-34 lead thanks to a 23-7 third quarter drive.
The Bulldogs put the nail in the coffin on the contest with an even 16-16 fourth quarter, adding the exclamation point with a steal and finish for Applewhite.
Quitman (4-2) got 16 from senior Jordan Mauldin, 13 of which came in the third quarter alone, knocking down four trifectas. Brantley added 15, getting 13 from Shue and 7 from Applewhite. Ethan Hall had 11 for Bigelow (1-2). The Bulldogs will return to the hardwood tonight to host Two Rivers at 8:15, gearing up for a third and final game against 10-1 Valley Springs in a rematch between the two teams.