HOT SPRINGS, Ar. — Hot Springs basketball coach Antoni Lasker has reason to smile after the Trojans dealt Lake Hamilton its third consecutive loss Friday night at the Trojan Arena, 56-54.
The win enhances the Trojans prospects of advancing to the 5A state tournament. Hot Springs is now 5-5 in the 5A South standings, meaning its fourth or fifth depending on what Sheridan did Friday night.
The past four days have been a nightmare for Lake Hamilton (17-6, 9-3). The Wolves were tied for first place with Pine Bluff last Tuesday. Now they could be all alone in third place, depending on what Lakeside did Friday.
“We could climb as high as second place, but that depends on Lake Hamilton dropping a couple more,” said Lasker. “Every game means a lot, and if we take care of business our chances of going to state are good.
Hot Springs in hunt for state tournament
“Lake Hamilton is always a good team, and this is a rivalry. Our kids were very resilient. They fought hard and never gave up. Hats off to Hamilton for fighting back.”
Lake Hamilton coach Scotty Pennington was searching for words carefully during a postgame interview.
“You’re going to get everyone’s best, and I thought Hot Springs played extremely well tonight,” he said. “I think we played much better than we did last night at Lakeside. It came down to Hot Springs making more free throws that we did. We’ve got to continue to grind. Maybe we’ll look back on this stretch and it makes us tougher.”
Trojans’ biggest lead was eight
Ironically, Pennington is a former head coach at Hot Springs, and one of his teams was 18-0 before losing three straight.
The Trojans’ biggest lead in the game was eight points and the end of the first quarter (15-7). Lake Hamilton started hitting some shots in the second quarter, with Demetrius Sharp doing most of the damage. Sharp led the Wolves with 19 points, and Zac Pennington contributed 11. Ty Robinson got in early foul trouble, finishing with eight points.
If there was an individual star of the game it was Nasir Hannah of Hot Springs. Hannah consistently drove the baseline for layups, finishing with a team-high 18 points. He was also perfect at the charity stripe (4-4) in the fourth quarter. Tyrell Honey scored 12 points, while 6-8 Jabari West Jr. scored six of his eight points in the fourth period. West dominated the paint against the smaller Wolves.
Everyone plays as Lady Wolves win big
Lake Hamilton’s girls outscored the Trojans 26-4 in the second quarter on their way to a 55-23 victory.
The Trojans improve to 21-2 and 10-0 in the 5A South standings..
Leading 38-10 at halftime, coach Blake Condley started substituting at the beginning of the third quarter. Still, the Wolves outscored Hot Springs to make it 54-12. The clock ran non-stop the final eight minutes and the Trojans outscored Lake Hamilton’s third-teamers, 11-1.
Hayleigh Wyrick led the winners with 22 points, including three 3-pointers. Ginny Higginbotham also had three treys. Amiya Campbell was the Trojans’ leading scorer with 14 points.