SHERIDAN, Ar. — Lake Hamilton’s boys are the lone survivor Wednesday from the Hot Springs area in the 2022 Arkansas Class 5A State Boys & Girls High School Basketball Tournament at Yellowjacket Arena.
Coach Scotty Pennington and his team sat in the stands for hours watching its 5A South rivals go down one after another.
Top-ranked Jonesboro crushed Hot Springs’ boys, 65-26; Marion eliminated Lakeside 65-41; and Marion’s girls routed Lakeside, 57-27.
The day looked like a disaster when West Memphis jumped out to an 8-2 lead over the Wolves in the first two minutes. Junior Zac Pennington and Demetrius Sharp rallied Lake Hamilton with 23 and 21 points, respectively, and the Wolves beat the Blue Devils, 64-54.
Rematch with Parkview next for Wolves
Lake Hamilton (23-6) plays Little Rock Parkview in the quarter-finals Friday at 2:30 p.m.
“Friday’s game with Parkview ought to be a war,” said Pennington. “We played Parkview last year and know what to expect. I think we’ll do a better job with their pressure. It was probably a good thing we saw it tonight from West Memphis.”
The Wolves were leading West Memphis by 20 (45-25) going into the final eight minutes. The game was far from over as the Blue Devils started piling up Lake Hamilton turnovers with their superior speed and height. If you wonder why West Memphis didn’t start pressing sooner it was foul trouble.
West Memphis (16-12) exploded for 29 points in the fourth quarter, but never got closer than eight thanks to Sharp and Pennington. Kobe Williams came off the bench to score all 10 of his points in the final seven minutes. Chico Washington poured in eight of his 10 points in the final minutes. The Devils swished six 3-pointers during that rally.
Ty Robinson a warrior and survivor
Pennington the player had been struggling with a cut on his shooting hand. It appeared healed after sinking three 3-pointers and leading all scorers. Sharp countered the Devils’ speed with his own, and scored several uncontested layups.
“Zac is kind of back to his normal self,” said his father. “This is his third year in the state tournament, and he came up huge tonight, hitting some big shots and free throws.”
Sophomore Ty Robinson was on and off the floor most of the game with his ailing shoulder. He finished with six points.
“Ty is battered and bruised with a sprain in his shoulder and a broke nose,” said the coach. “He’s a warrior and battles through it. We need him out on the floor.
“Chase Jessup did a great job tonight. He’s never been hurt by a big guy in his career — not one time. He’s valuable to our team defensively. Chase is our vocal leader.”
No. 1 Jonesboro is team to beat
Jonesboro (26-3) went on a 16-0 run late in the first quarter to pull away from Hot Springs (15-14). The Trojans trailed 32-16 at intermission, and the Hurricane made it uglier by outscoring the Trojans 33-10 the final 16 minutes.
Senior Jabari West Jr. led Hot Springs with 11 points, including two 3-pointers. The Trojans’ 6-8 star only had three rebounds.
Lakeside’s boys also started slow against Marion. The Patriots (24-7) never trailed after building a 37-22 cushion at halftime. Marion’s lineup featured 6-8 freshman Terrion Burgess and 6-10 senior Omareion Jefferson.
Jordan Mills led the Rams’ with 12 points. He converted three 3-pointers
Lakeside’s girls were unable to mount an offensive challenge against Marion. The Rams led early in the first quarter, but trailed 12-10 after eight minutes. The deficit grew to 25-14 at halftime, and 37-20 going into the final quarter.