Three county teams grabbed a berth to the state tournament as they opened regional play with wins.
Mountainburg, Cedarville and Mulberry will each send one team to their respective state tournament that begins next week.
Mountainburg 47, Quitman 30
Once coach Dan Garringer picked up a technical, Mountainburg stepped on the gas.
The Lady Dragons outscored Quitman by 16 points over the middle quarters and ultimately cruised to a first-round win in the 2A North regional, 47-30.
"Really, what made the difference was we were pressuring them and they started turning the ball over," Mountainburg assistant Kymberlon Clark said. "Our pressure started wearing them down in the second quarter."
Quitman led after the first, 9-7, to the chagrin of Garringer. The technical motivated his bunch as the Lady Bulldogs managed only 11 points in the second half.
Kaylynn Moore nearly outscored Quitman by herself, finishing with 25 points. Tara Webb added 12 for Mountainburg.
The Lady Dragons advanced to the regional semifinal on Friday .
Cedarville 66, Paris 65 (Men’s), OT
For four quarters plus, No. 4 seed Paris almost pulled the upset against the 3A-1 champion.
But the Pirates’ Alex Cantrell made a driving layup with three seconds left as Cedarville (20-8) pulled out the victory.
"I’ve been threw enough of these things that I didn’t really get nervous until three seconds left when that ball rolled around the rim and went in," Cedarville coach Andrew Tencleve said. "Fortunately, it stayed down and went through. A lot of them were coming back out on us all night. We didn’t play real well, but mad props to Paris. They did a great job and probably deserved to win, but we’re not going to give it to them."
Cantrell had 24 points and Garret Parson had 19 for the Pirates.
Matthew Fitzjurls scored 21 points and Wyatt Nehus had 16 for Paris (10-17)
Paris led 65-64 and was at the line in the final seconds but missed two free throws which set up the final play with seven seconds left. The Paris defense collapsed on Parson who passed to Cantrell for a driving shot inside the lane.
"Garret is supposed to try to get an open shot and to kick it off if he is covered," Tencleve said. "He did just what he is supposed to do and got it to Cantrell, who had a hot hand for us (Wednesday night)."
Mulberry 61, Alpena 47 (Women’s)
The Lady Yellowjackets clinched a spot in the 1A State Tournament for the fourth straight year in an easy win over Alpena in the 1A 1 Regional Tournament at Lead Hill.
A nervous Mulberry coach Adam Carlton was relieved his favored team didn’t get caught by an upset.
"Always hard to get that first one in regionals and get locked into state," he said. "A lot of good teams didn’t make it. Always make you nervous."
Mulberry had four players in double figures, led by Brittany Edwards’ 19. Sam Cagle and Taylor Naegle each added 11 points, while Logan Archer tossed in 10. Lexi Voorhees had nine points.
The Lady Yellowjackets faced the team they knocked out of regionals in the first round last year, Western Grove, on Friday.
Danville 59, Cedarville 50 (Women’s)
Though just 5-feet, 1-inch tall and just a sophomore, Danville point guard Savannah Hodges was not afraid to dominate the game. Hodges poured in 24 points as the Lady Little Johns advanced to the state tournament for the first time since moving up to 3A from 2A two years ago.
"I guess she was a little bit of a secret as a sophomore at the start of the year," Danville coach Stuart Creamer said. "But with performances like that in big games at regionals, everybody is going to know who she is."
Cedarville came out strong to start the game, leading 11-2, but Danville had a 23-0 run in the second quarter and led 32-18 at the half.
Malia Hernandez scored 13 and Shanda Brown had 12 for Cedarville. Baliee Murphy had 10 for the Pirates.
Cedarville made a run to cut the lead to eight points early in the fourth quarter, but Danville made a steal and layup, two free throws and a perfect assist as a 6-0 run pushed the lead back to 58-43.
Jasper 53, Mulberry 25 (Men’s)
Turnovers and a strong Jasper defense ended the Yellowjackets’ season in the first round of the 1A 1 Regional.
Mulberry couldn’t crack the double-digit scoring barrier in any quarter while Jasper had 36 by halftime.
"Jasper played well," Mulberry coach Jim Anderson said. "We turned it over a few too many times, got in a little bit of a hurry. But I’ll give them credit, they played well."
Dylan Jones led Mulberry with eight points and Audie Stringer had six.