MOUNTAINBURG — Mountainburg coach Mike McDonald hopes his team’s late-season push will get it a berth in the regional tournament.
Senior Lonnie Campbell scored 25 points and the Dragons beat scrappy Hartford, 62-51, in the 2A-4 finale.
Mountainburg (9-15, 7-7) has an outside shot of clinching fourth in regular season play.
"We’ve come a long way. We’re a lot better basketball team than we were even three or four weeks ago," McDonald said. "When we shoot the ball well, we can play with anybody in our league."
The Dragons held onto a lead late in the game on Thursday, something they weren’t able to do at Hartford last month.
"At their place, it was the same situation," McDonald said. "We were up six and then they made a late run. Tonight, we were able to get some easy buckets and get a couple of stops late to put them away."
The Dragons led 12-8 after one quarter, but Hartford’s Tomi Collins started to heat and the Hustlers closed to within three with three minutes to play in the first half.
But Mountainburg’s Zach Wolfgram, who was coming of a career-high 23-point effort in a win against Union Christian, hit a 3-pointer that extended the lead to six. Then Campbell — who also pulled down 11 rebounds to go with his 25 points — popped a 3 that extended the lead to nine.
The Dragons led by a dozen at halftime before Hartford again mounted a rally. A basket by Collins sliced Mountainburg’s lead to four with 6:22 left to play.
"We’ve been like this the last three or four games," Hartford coach Eric McKnight said. "We’re dead-legged in the first half, and then we come out and play really well after falling behind."
Mountainburg 58, Hartford 18 (Women’s)
Kaylyn Moore scored 11 of her game-high 20 points in the second quarter and slow-starting Mountainburg pulled away from Hartford.
The six Mountainburg seniors — Auburn Peters, Tara Webb, Tianna Barton, Katelyn Metcalf, Colette Ross and Brianna Hobson — finished their careers with a 28-0 home record. Webb, who signed with Arkansas Tech in the fall, had 10 points and five rebounds in limited action.
Hartford (1-17, 0-13) led 5-4 following Emily Lanman’s three-point effort. But Mountainburg (24-2, 14-0) scored eight points in the final 1:52 of the first quarter. Then Moore scored seven points as part of a 13-0 run to open the second quarter.
Emily Lanman led Hartford with a team-high nine points. She also pulled down four rebounds. Teammate Lindsay Peterson added seven points and seven boards.