Gravette took more than a quarter to attempt a shot inside the three-point arc. Dollarway took about that long to cool off the Lions' long-range shooting after letting a 6-0 lead slip.
Gravette took more than a quarter to attempt a shot inside the three-point arc. Dollarway took about that long to cool off the Lions’ long-range shooting after letting a 6-0 lead slip.
But the Cardinals took control by halftime once they heated up and chased the Lions out of the 4A state tournament with a 68-53 victory Wednesday at the Pine Bluff Convention Center. Dollarway (24-7) will play last season’s runner-up, Jonesboro Westside, at 5:30 p.m. today.
Lawrence Allen scored 16 points to lead Dollarway. He was followed by Davonne Chapman with 13, twins Josh and Jonathan Liddell with 12 each, and Kabion Ento with nine. Sophomore Terence Pierce scored 28 points to lead Gravette (22-10).
“(Pierce) from Gravette, he was doing some damage,” Josh Liddell said. “Coach told us to be able to match up with him and use our athleticism to get to the hole.”
The Cardinals also had to gain their footing on an unusually slippery court, which caused a number of turnovers for both teams and also was an issue in the Malvern vs. Shiloh Christian girls game that preceded this contest. Tournament director Bob Purvis said “a tiny bit of film” from the vinyl that covered the floor before the first game caused the slickness, but said that the teams in the following game seemed to keep their footing well.
“It’s ridiculous you have to come down here and guys can’t stand up and guard,” Gravette coach Dustin Peters said. “It was both ways.”
Pierce hit five three-point baskets in the first quarter, which Gravette led 18-14. The Lions hit 6 of 9 from the floor, all of them three-point attempts, and didn’t attempt a two-ball until the 7:15 mark of the second quarter.
“We’re a perimeter-oriented team because we’re so small,” Peters said. “It was in the gameplan, (that) we had to get stuff going to the rack.”
The lead grew to 24-14 after three free throws by Pierce and another three by Kyle Bilderback before Dollarway went on an 18-2 run aided by Josh Liddell’s seven points to take the lead for good.
Chapman, who earned his first start of the season after some strong games in regional tournament action, said it was hard to cool off the Lions’ shooting at first.
“At first it was, but then we got a hold on what they were doing,” he said. “ We extended our defense and stopped them from shooting threes.”
Dollarway seemed to try and match Gravette’s outside shooting in the first half. It helped, as Dollarway finished the half 8 of 14 from the arc compared to Gravette’s 7 of 15. For the game, Dollarway shot 26 of 49 (53.1 percent) from the field, including 9 of 15 from three-point range. Gravette hit 19 of 39 (48.7 percent) from the floor, including 9 of 20 from the arc.
“We just had to get a little tougher and run our defense like we were supposed to be running,” coach Ellis Berry said.
Jamal Burton, Dollarway’s leading scorer on the season, was held scoreless against Gravette. The Cards, however, built a 50-37 lead after three periods and led by as many as 16 points.
Carson Pollreis also had 12 points for Gravette.