HARTFORD — Hartford’s Brennan Clouatre’s only points of the game were big Tuesday.
Clouatre hit two free throws with 1:53 left to play to put the Hustlers ahead for good as Hartford pulled away from Mountainburg for a 61-53 victory in 2A-4 play.
Hartford (5-8, 3-4) is beginning to make a splash behind first-year coach Eric Metcalf.
"It shows that we don’t give up," Metcalf said. "We have a saying that this is our house and we treat every gym like it’s our house. We’re starting to get our fan base back and the program is taking off. These boys want to come out and win every night."
Hartford, which defeated Hackett last Friday, trailed the Dragons 50-44 when Conor Bumpus started the 17-3 clinching run with a 3-pointer. Robert Collins’ three-point play tied the game and Garrrett Ford put Hartford ahead with two foul shots.
Zack Wolfgram’s fifth and final 3-pointer gave Mountainburg a 53-52 lead with 3:43 left, but the Dragons missed their final nine shots and didn’t score after that.
"We’re growing as a basketball team and still trying to learn how to finish — that’s what I told the guys," Mountainburg coach Michael McDonald said. "We’ve come a long way, but now the next step is to finish games. Those guys (for Hartford) hit some shots, too.
"It’s hard when they’re making shots and we’re not."
Senior Lonnie Campbell, who finished with 24 points and 14 rebounds, helped pull the Dragons within two at the half. Then he and Wolfgram popped consecutive 3-pointers in the third quarter to help Mountainburg build a 45-40 lead.
But the Dragons (5-12, 3-4) managed just eight points in the final eight minutes.
The Hustlers were 5-of-7 from the free-throw line in the final 1:53.
Mountainburg 54, Hartford 13 (Women’s)
Tara Webb scored 18 points and teammate Kaylyn Moore hit three first-quarter 3-pointers as the Lady Dragons ran away from the Lady Hustlers to remain unbeaten in 2A-4 play.
Mountainburg (17-2, 7-0) led 12-0 just four minutes in and enjoyed a 19-2 lead after the first quarter.
The Lady Dragons scored the final 11 points of the second quarter and led 34-6 after a trio of buckets by Webb and two layups by Auburn Peters.
Lindsey Peterson led Hartford (1-12, 0-7) with seven points.