This story is originally ran in the Press Argus-Courier on Jan. 12.

Van Buren picked up a couple of River Valley Conference wins on Jan. 7 at the Coleman Campus Gymnasium.

The Pointers survived a small second-half rally by the Airedales, while the Lady Pointers stormed back in the second half to beat the Lady Airedales.

On Jan. 10, Alma swept Trinity in a pair of needed wins for the River Valley Conference race.

Van Buren 36, Alma 33

The Pointers (6-5, 2-4 River Valley Conference) enjoyed a small 19-14 lead at the break, but Alma rallied to cut into the deficit 27-24 going into the fourth quarter.

Alma was unable to gut the lead any further as the Pointers won.

Van Buren’s Connor Brady led all scorers with 14 points. Brayden Black added six, while both Devin Gattis and Dylan Barlow had five points each.

Dylan Cluck paced Alma with 12 points. Connor Stacy had 10 and Hunter Mcalister tossed in eight.

Van Buren dropped a close game to Greenwood, 52-47, on Thursday in Sebastian County.

The Pointers host Trinity on Monday, Jan. 14, to finish up the first round-robin of the conference season and will travel to Darby on Jan. 17.

Van Buren 26, Alma 16

Alma overcame a slow start to take the first-half lead, but Van Buren claimed the lead in the third quarter to pick up the River Valley Conference win.

The Lady Pointers (5-6, 4-2) had just a 3-0 lead at the end of the first quarter, but Alma was up 10-9 to start the second half. Van Buren would hold Alma to just six points for the duration of the game while it claimed a 19-13 lead after three quarters of play.

Alma’s Halyn Carmack led all scorers with nine points and teammate Taelynn Perry had five.

Allie Moss had seven points for Van Buren and Alexia Roberts contributed six. Both Caylee Barbour and Brook Fancher had five points each.

Greenwood (11-2, 6-0) won Thursday’s contest, 45-25.

The Lady Pointers are currently third behind Greenwood (6-0) and Kimmons (4-2) in the River Valley Conference race.

Alma 44, Trinity 36

Carmack scored 12 of her game-high 25 points in the fourth quarter to help fuel an Alma parry to hold off the Lady Buffaloes on Jan. 10 in Fort Smith.

The Lady Airedales were up 30-18 after a pair of free throws from Makenzie Martin with 4:08 remaining in the third quarter. Alma went cold from the floor missing five of their shots and suffered three turnovers which allowed Trinity to stage a 10-0 run to make it 30-28 after a putback by Maddie Gilsinger with 39.4 seconds left in the quarter.

Gilsinger, who finished with seven points, hit a one-and-one to tie the game, 30-30, to start the fourth quarter. Catherin Hahn, who led Trinity with 18 points, hit one of her free throws to give the Lady Buffs its only lead for the game, 31-30 with 5:18 remaining.

It didn’t last very long.

Carmack made her first trip to the line in the fourth quarter and reclaimed the lead for Alma, 32-31. Trinity finished the game with three trips and shot 2 of 5 for the duration of the game and missed one opportunity to either tie the game or take the lead.

Carmack would go 8 of 11 from the line and made two baskets to help the Lady Airedales secure the win. The victory puts Alma (3-3 RVC) in a three-way tie for fourth place in the River Valley Conference race with Chaffin and Trinity. Alma travels to Greenwood next week to wrap up the first round-robin of conference play.

Perry finished with 11 points, three rebounds, two steals and two blocked shots for Alma. Carmack had five rebounds.

Alma 42, Trinity 27

The Buffaloes enjoyed a small one-point lead, 8-7, at the end of the first quarter, but the Airedales launched into a 14-0 run that lasted most of the second quarter to take a 21-8 lead and wrapped up another River Valley Conference win on Jan. 10.

Alma (6-6, 3-3) is now tied with Trinity for third place in the league behind Kimmons (6-0) and Chaffin (5-1).

The Airedales had another big run to start the second half and were up 31-11 at the beginning of the final quarter.

Eight different players contributed to the scoring for Alma as Hunter Mcalister led with a double-double 12 points and 10 rebounds. Conner Stacy added 12 points for the Airedales while Dylan Cluck tossed in eight.

Braden O’Connell and Noah Ottman both had six points to pace Trinity.