BASKETBALL

Hornets win; Acorn drops Mulberry

Both Pleasant View teams grabbed a win Monday, while Mulberry suffered a loss at Acorn.

The Pleasant View Lady Hornets (2-0) won their second straight game to defeat St. Paul 28-14 at home. Destiny Freeman provided 22 points for the Lady Hornets.

The Hornets (1-0) won their season opener by edging St. Paul 29-28 as Dalton Reeves hit a bucket with two seconds remaining to give his squad the edge.

Reeves led with 11 points and Trevor Marvin chipped in eight.

Pleasant View travel to Nemo Vista Nov. 5 before hosting Oark at home on Nov. 7.

Acorn defeated the Lady ’Jackets 55-46. Logan Archer paced her squad with 17 points and Brittany Edwards added nine. Lexi Voorhees and Sam Cagle tossed in seven and six points respectively.

The Yellow Jackets suffered their second loss of the season as Acorn won 60-49.

Wyatt Reeves led Mulberry with 13 points, while Audie Stringer and Dillon Jones added 10 points each.

The Acorn game was the first leg of a 5-game road trip for Mulberry, who heads back out on Nov. 5 for a junior high and high school match-up. Mulberry doesn’t return home until Nov. 15 to face Western Yell County.

— GEORGE "CLAY" MITCHELL

VOLLEYBALL

Alma advances to second round

One-up, Nettleton.

The top-seeded school from the East got the best of Alma to vault into the 5A State Tournament semifinals with a 25-19, 23-25, 25-17, 25-21 win Wednesday.

The schools have developed a rare cross-state rivalry over the last three years, with each eliminating the other in the previous two state tournaments. Nettleton (21-5) beat Alma on its way to the crown in 2010 before Alma pulled the upset last year.

The bragging rights — and a spot in the semifinals — now belong back east.

"Nettleton’s a good team. They have a good shot at winning it," Alma coach Tiffaney Drinkwitz said. "But we were right there with them every game."

Alma’s attack had fits all afternoon attempting to get over, around or through the blocking skill of Nettleton sophomore Alden Weeks. Weeks’ height forced the Airedalettes to hit lofting, back-spin balls to the waiting digs of the Nettleton backline for much of the match.

Alma capitalized in the second game, though, when Weeks rotated off. Led by senior Brittany Griffin, the Airedalettes were able to attack the line with better results, building a lead as big as seven points before Weeks returned to the court. They held off a Nettleton comeback late to take the game.

"We didn’t really change our strategy against them," Drinkwitz said. "We look to stay consistent no matter where we attack."

Trailing by six points in the first game, Alma came back behind the strong attack of Griffin. The Airdalettes (18-12) came within three, 21-18, before the Lady Raiders ripped off four of the final five points to take the game.

It appeared Alma might force a fifth game as they went point for point with the Raiders in the fourth. But back-to-back errors and a couple of Raiders’ kills built Nettleton’s lead to 17-13 and Alma couldn’t rally.

After three consecutive state tournament appearances, Alma must now replace Griffin and her five senior classmates to continue the run next year. Sophomore Aubrey Bailey provides a good starting point.

"She’s going to be all right," Drinkwitz said with a smile. "I played six seniors, three sophomores and a junior, so we’ll see. Aubrey’s been great for us and I’m confident about her the next couple years."

— ERIC BOLLIN

Tuesday’s contest

Playing in front of a large crowd of their fellow students, Alma trailed 10-8 in the first set of its match against North Pulaski to open the 5A State Volleyball Tournament.

After that, it was all Airedalettes. Alma rallied to win that first set, 25-12, dominated the second set, 25-9, and finished the match with a 25-18 win for a clean sweep.

"We were a little nervous at the start," Alma coach Tiffaney Drinkwitz said. "We sold over 400 student tickets and I think the girls were excited about playing before the other students. It was a lot of fun once we settled down."

With the match starting at noon, students were allowed to get out of class to attend the match if they bought a student ticket.

Senior Brittany Griffin racked up 15 kills for Alma. Fellow senior Kelsie Cline added 10 kills and five blocks and Aubrey Bailey added eight kills.

"We know we can count on Brittany," Drinkwitz said. "I am excited to see Kelsie and Aubrey step up and play that well, we are going to need more than just Brittany to keep going in the state tournament."

Alma (18-11) was the No. 2 seed in from the 5A-West and they play the champions from the 5A-East, Nettleton today at 4 p.m.

Alma upset Nettleton last year at the state tournament and Nettleton knocked Alma out in 2010.

"We’ve got a little bit of a history, we have had some good matches with them," Drinkwitz said. "They won the East, and that is always a strong conference, so they are going to be pretty good again. I hope we can get as many of our students to come back, we can use the help."

— GRANT TOLLEY