The Airedalettes survived a late rally by Rogers and reached the all-Crawford County showdown of the Van Buren Junior High tournament hosted at the Freshman Academy on Friday night.
Alma led 34-23 with 3:05 left in the game, but held on to win 34-32.
Rogers’ late 9-0 scoring spree began with a trey from Madison McKinney. Rogers climbed back into the game and was within striking distance with just 59.3 seconds remaining after Elsie Randels hit a jump shot.
Alma went to the line for a one-and-one, but missed the first shot. The Airedalettes rebounded the ball and managed to take two shots before the ball went out of bounds giving Rogers the possession with just 7.5 seconds left.
Randels tried for the long three, and the ball bounced twice off the rim at the buzzer before it fell to the ground.
Alma began the game 0 of 14 from the floor in the first quarter and Rogers led 9-2. A trey by McKinney gave Rogers its largest lead of the game, 12-2 with 3:56 left in the first half. The Airedalettes then launched a 14-0 run that lasted until a couple of free throws by Kaitlyn Jackson in the third quarter to take the lead, 16-12, at the 4:28 mark.
Rogers responded and took back the lead 17-16 with 3:10 remaining. Alma answered in kind and had a 13-0 run as it scored 12 points off of six turnovers and was ahead 29-19 after a Rogers basket to close out the third quarter. Both teams traded scores until Rogers got on a roll late.
Abbye Ostrander led Alma with nine points and six rebounds. Both Bailey Jones and Kailey Fagan chipped in eight points each.
Van Buren 44, Siloam Springs 34 (Boys)
Both teams battled for the lead in the first half, but the Pointers took the lead for good with a three-pointer from Jonny Harms late in the second quarter as the Pointers won and advanced to Saturday’s finals.
The majority of the first half saw four lead changes and four ties as both teams battled to sustain a lead.
Harms hit his trey with 47.6 seconds remaining in the half to put Van Buren back on top 15-13. Conner Catron added another three pointer at the buzzer and the Pointers led the rest of the way.
Seven different Pointers contributed to the scoring as Beau Beckner led with 17 points and six rebounds. Harms added 10 points while Logan Thomas chipped in eight points and a game high three steals. In all, Van Buren forced 10 of Siloam Springs’ 16 turnovers.
The Pointers led as much as 11, 28-17, after a score by Harms with 1:46 left in the third quarter.
Siloam Springs managed to cut the lead by four, 38-34, with a 7-0 run in the fourth quarter, but Beckner finished the game with a 6-0 run for the Pointers for the final margin.
Van Buren 30, Russellville West 20 (Girls)
The Lady Cyclones managed to stay close, but the Lady Pointers outscored Russellville West 14-1 for 6:51 covering the second and third quarters to pull away for good.
Jamilyn Kinney led all scorers with 15 points and four steals. Addie Outlaw led Van Buren with six rebounds. Taylar Sutton added six points.
Alma 39, Rogers 26 (Boys)
The Airedales utilized a 23-9 scoring spree that lasted during the second and third quarters to construct a double-digit lead and reached Saturday’s finals of the junior high tournament.
Noah Dotson sat out the first quarter, and Rogers managed to keep it close and led 9-7 with 4:28 remaining in the first half. Dotson sparked an 11-0 run by scoring five points. Dotson went on to finish with nine points.
Alma led 18-11 after the first half and when Rogers’ Jake Benninghoff sank a pair of free throws with :05 seconds remaining.
Benninghoff began the second half with another pair of free throws. After Nathan Corder hit a trey, Benninghoff, who led his team with 14 points, sank another basket and Rogers pulled within six, 21-15, with 4:58 left in the third quarter.
That would be as close Alma would get the duration of the game.
The Airdales then launched into a 9-0 run and led 30-15 at the 1:36 mark.
Corder finished with 11 points and hit three treys. Isaac Posey added eight. Eli Howells almost picked up a double-double as he led the game with 10 of the team’s 23 rebounds and seven points.