Hartford’s boys built a double-digit lead in the second half and withstood a late charge by Mountainburg to post a 54-46 win Thursday at the 2A-4 West Conference tournament.
The Hustlers, the seventh seed in the tourney, move on to today’s second round, where they will take on third-seeded Eureka Springs with a berth in next week’s regional tournament on the line.
On the strength of a 19-point second quarter, Hartford took a 28-22 lead at halftime. The Hustlers then extended it to 11, 41-30, at the end of the third and was also up by as many as 12 points in the fourth.
Mountainburg made a late run, and was able to get within five points twice, the latter 48-43 with 1:17 left. But Hartford’s Chad Dietz hit foul shots in two separate situations, the last coming with just under a minute remaining after the Dragons were whistled for a traveling violation.
The Dragons did cut the Hartford lead to four, 50-46, with 13 seconds left, but the Hustlers got a pair of layups to close out the win.
Dakota Dugan had 15 points and hit three 3-pointers in the win for the Hustlers. Brennen Clouatre added 13 points and Dietz finished with 10.
Mountainburg also had three players in double figures. Quency Pixley finished with 13 points, followed by Alexander Matlock with 12 and Dakoda Volk with 10.