This story originally ran in the Press Argus-Courier on Jan. 5, 2019.
OZARK — To live and die by the three, teams have to find other resources when it comes to offense.
Ozark turned to its inside game on Dec. 28.
Colt Millsape and Grant Schaffer combined for 22 points with some critical baskets on the block, and Ozark held off scrappy Cedarville, 54-48, in the semifinals of the Bank of the Ozark Tournament at the Hillbilly Activity Center.
“I think against Mountainburg, we finally found some points, and it came from the inside,” Ozark coach Brad Johnson said. “We’ve got to get the ball inside and out consistently. When you’re playing out on the 3-point line, it’s easier to defend. I’m proud of our big (guys) for stepping up and hitting some shots.”
“Colt was a big presence for us and scored buckets whenever we needed them,” senior Ethan Masingale said. “Colt and Tristan Haberer had some key baskets for us. We’re still getting in the rhythm of working together and playing together. We have a lot of talented individuals, more than we’ve had in the past.”
Cedarville, 6-11, has been trying to find itself, too.
But on Dec. 28, the Pirates showed a lot of grit.
After trailing for much of the game, the Bucs fought back to tie the game at 31-all on a basket by sophomore Austin Swaim.
But Ethan Dorrough, who finished with a game-high 16 points, hit back-to-back baskets — one at the close of the third quarter and another on the Hillbillies’ first possession of the fourth quarter— to keep Cedarville at bay.
Then, with four minutes left in the fourth quarter, Cedarville’s Heath Earnhart dropped a pair of 3-pointers to pull the Pirates within 44-43.
But Millsap hit a short jumper in the lane and Masingale drained a long 3-pointer for a 49-43 lead with 2:12 left.
Dylan Murray led Cedarville with 13 points. Earnhart finished with 12, and Casey Knight added nine.
Cedarville 49, Ozark 46
Cedarville coach Chase Rackley knew he couldn’t press much on Dec. 28. Not with a roster of seven players.
But when the Lady Pirates went to the press in the late game on Dec. 28, it was all system’s go.
Sophomore Chloe Morrow scored 13 of her 21 points in the fourth quarter, including six in a span of 31 seconds, helping Cedarville cap a 49-46 victory at the Bank of the Ozarks Tournament.
Cedarville outscored Ozark, 22-9, in the final 4:43.
Lauren Nagel hit two early 3-pointers and Ozark (7-9) grabbed a 26-19 lead at the half. Cedarville’s leading scorer, Chanel Kattich, was whistled for her third foul in the second quarter, and when she went out, Ozark closed the half on an 11-3 lead.
It looked as though Nagel’s go-ahead 3-pointer with 3:49 left in the half would put the Lady Hillbillies ahead to stay.
Kattich, who finished with 10 points while playing with four fouls for much of the second half, told her teammates to keep playing.
“There was a lot of discouragement after we got down, but we came back,” Kattich said. “I told everybody, ‘We’re not done!’ Everybody contributed and did what they had to do to pull out the win.”
Morrow’s jumper on the wing put Cedarville ahead stay (45-44) with 29.8 left to play.
“I only have seven girls, and one fouled out, so the way that we’re built, we can’t press all the time or I won’t have any players,” Rackley said. “Whenever we did press, I thought they did a heck of a job.”
Paris 72, Mountainburg 57
Grayson Moore had 30 points and the Paris Eagles rolled to a 72-57 win over Mountainburg on Dec. 29 at the Bank OZK Tournament.
Sean Irvan and Ethan Gregory had 14 points apiece for the Dragons (5-9). Jacob Ortlieb and Waylon Cluck added nine and eight points, respectively.
Micah Duncan and Garrett Moore finished with 15 and 11 points, respectively, for the 11-6 Eagles.
Paris resumes conference play Jan. 8 with Booneville.
County Line 51, Mountainburg 41
Madelyn Beasley led the Lady Dragons (8-6) with 12 points in the Dec. 29 contest during the Bank OZK Tournament in Ozark.
Annie Beasley added 10. Mountainburg faced Eureka Springs on Friday.
Mountainburg 60, Scranton 52
The Dragons struggled to get its shots to fall in the first half. Scranton took advantage of the dry spell and pushed to lead 28-8 with 4:04 remaining in the half.
Mountainburg got the shots to fall and a late run in the second quarter cut the Rocket’s lead 31-20 at the break.
Sean Irvan had 18 points on Thursday and finished with 19 on Friday afternoon and sank four three pointers to help the Dragons close gap to 39-36 at the end of the third quarter. One of Irvan’s three pointers tied the game with 7:26 left in the game.
A pair of free throw by Jacob Ortlieb gave Mountainburg its first lead, 41-39, since it made the first basket of the game. Scranton would tie up the game three times, but could never regain the lead.
Both Waylon Cluck and Ethan Gregory had 12 points for Mountainburg.
Brady Shelton led Scranton with 16 points while teammates Ethan West added 11 and Sam Horn tossed in 10.
Mountainburg 40, Scranton 36
The Lady Dragons held off a late push by Scranton to win the consolation game Dec. 28 at the Bank OZK Classic at the Ozark Activity Center.
Mountainburg led by as much as 36-28 after a basket by Rylli Hammond with 6:22 remaining in the contest. Scranton’s Libby Kremer hit a couple of free throws after a three-pointer from Kayla Sibenmorgan to make it 38-35 at the 1:15 mark.
Madelyn Beasley led Moutainburg with 17 points and junior Maddux McDonald added 11.
Kremer and Sibenmorgan finished with eight points each for Scranton.