HARRISON, Ar. — Valley Springs (27-11) focused on its height advantage to eliminate a cold-shooting Centerpoint team Sunday in the quarterfinals of the Class 3A Girls State Basketball tournament, 54-48.
The Lady Tigers dominated the glass at North Arkansas College, and never trailed until the fourth quarter when Centerpoint (26-3) captured a one-point advantage on three occasions.
Valley Springs built a nine-point (22-13) cushion in the second quarter. The Lady Knights went on a 9-0 run in 88 seconds to tie the game, but the Tigers answered with the final seven points of the first half for a 29-22 lead.
A 5-0 run at the start of the second half gave Valley Springs its biggest lead (34-22). The Tigers went cold, and a layup by senior Marlee Bright gave Centerpoint its first lead (41-40) with 6:50 left in the game.
Patrick leads Valley Springs into semifinals
It was back-and-forth for the next four minues. The Knights’ final lead was 47-46 with 2:53 remaining. Free throws by Bright and Bailey Brown accounted for Centerpoint’s final two points of the game.
In the end it was poor free throw shooting that cost the Knights a second straight appearance in the 3A finals. Monika Flores’ put Centerpoint on top 45-44 with two free throws.
Both Bright and Flores sparked the Knights’ second half rally with 10 points each. Bright led Centerpoint’s offense with 23 points, while Flores scored 13.
The Knights lose seven seniors to graduation this spring. Bright, Brown, Flores, Anna White, Cierra Brewer and Ella Spray played their final high school game Sunday.
Valley Springs senior Cayley Patrick was the game’s MVP. She swished 5 of 6 free throws in the final two minutes. Patrick and Halle Miller led the winners with 16 points each.
The Lady Tigers play Lamar in the semifinals Monday at 5:30 p.m.