Seven points after the first quarter was about where Little Rock Catholic wanted to keep Van Buren. The Pointers are, after all, a lock for a first-round bye in the 7A State Tournament next month.
There was just one problem.
Catholic hadn’t scored at all.
The Rockets’ slow-down game left the Van Buren student section booing within minutes and all the other onlookers sleepy. It ultimately didn’t work, either, as the Pointers rolled, 49-30.
Nearly two minutes went off the clock before Catholic even attempted a field goal. The Rockets didn’t turn it over, either. They were simply methodical. Van Buren used two passes after winning the opening tip to find Mitchell Smith for a hook shot from the paint.
Lance Harville-Thomas finally provided Catholic its first points at the 5:38 mark of the second quarter with a made free throw. But by that time Van Buren was already ahead, 13-0. Given the pace, it felt like twice that.
The Pointers did have some issues, though. Already a team not prone to set scoring records, the offense looked even more out-of-sorts than usual with the absence of Jason Harms, the team’s second-leading scorer. The senior swingman left the team last week.
Neither team scored double-figures in any quarter until Van Buren finally potted 25 points in the fourth to Catholic’s 16. It finally looked like the Pointers of recent weeks, too, as Smith threw down three dunks – including an impressive alley oop from Jaylynn Dye.
Smith led all scorers with 14.
Van Buren 50, Mount St. Mary 21 (Women’s)
With No. 2-seed and first-round bye already clinched, the Lady Pointers could have cruised Friday against Mount St. Mary.
They sort of did, anyway.
The Belles never stood a chance as Van Buren connected on four 3-pointers in the first quarter alone, built its lead to 14 and forced a running clock for the final five-plus minutes.
Van Buren ultimately made nine 3s and spread the wealth with six different players making treys. Three players also led the Lady Pointers in scoring with nine points apiece: Kaylee Sheppard, Danae Goodwin and Lani Snowden.