On their senior night, the Little Rock Mills Comets took it to the Pine Bluff Zebras in an 80-61 final.
Mills senior guard Grehlon Easter exploded for a game-high 31 points to lead the Comets from the start. Easter, a Lamar University commit, scored the first 10 points for Mills before Pine Bluff would score.
With the quickness that Pine Bluff guards Kaleb Higgins, Jyrimmee Thompson and Kendrick Thorn present, the Comets weren't as aggressive in their full court pressure, but their defense was stout from the start to the finish.
Pine Bluff didn't seem rattled by the rowdy environment, but they just couldn't get shots to fall early to contest the run by the Comets. Easter relentlessly attacked the basket in transition for a dunk that forced Pine Bluff to call a timeout with 4:12 to play in quarter one. At that time the Zebras’ only points had come from the free throw line, and they hadn't recorded a field goal.
Mills’ big man Devin Cross rose up for a two-hand transition slam to open a 19-3 lead as they were out-running the Zebras.
It would get worst for Pine Bluff when the Comets' three-point marksman senior Patrick Greene ended the first quarter on a tear from deep. In the closing minutes of the first quarter, Mills hit four triples, with four of them coming from Greene, and heading into quarter two they held a 31-9 advantage.
The defense turned up for the Zebras to start the second quarter as they held Mills scoreless for the first 1:55. However, Easter would break the scoring drought with a couple of free throws.
Turnovers were killing the Zebras, and with the deficit steadily growing, every possession became important. Higgins scored five straight late in the second, but the Zebras still had a ton of ground to make up.
The halftime score was 51-29 in favor of Mills, and the lack of defense really was the tale of the tape for Pine Bluff.
In the third quarter, trailing by 22, the game wasn't over, and the Zebras started off playing better defense. Thorn tried to put the Zebras on his back by taking it straight into the teeth of the Comets’ defense to cut into their lead. However, Mills would then answer with a 6-0 run to regain total control.
There seemed to be a lid on the rim for the Zebras, and Mills kept scoring. With 3:07 left in the third, Mills held a 25-point lead. The depth and fire power of Mills was too much for the Zebras throughout the game, and the Comets got production from across the board.
In the fourth, Higgins scored five unanswered to make it manageable with seven-plus minutes, but Mills would respond to officially put the game out of reach.
Kaleb Higgins and Kendrick Thorn scored 17 points, while Jyrimmee Thompson scored 16 points.