Pine Bluff head coach Carl Smith said last game that junior Will Gragg was starting to come around. Thursday night’s game against Lake Hamilton proved that statement even further as Gragg led the Zebras with 12 points and added five rebounds along with a steal in a 60-42 conference win at McFadden Gymnasium.

Pine Bluff head coach Carl Smith said last game that junior Will Gragg was starting to come around. Thursday night’s game against Lake Hamilton proved that statement even further as Gragg led the Zebras with 12 points and added five rebounds along with a steal in a 60-42 conference win at McFadden Gymnasium.


"I told you he is coming along," Smith said of Gragg’s performance. "He is getting more comfortable and he enjoys coming out here and running up and down the floor."


Pine Bluff (13-8, 8-3 7A/6A-South) started off slow in the first quarter as both teams couldn’t buy a bucket. An offensive rebound and put back by Gragg with 3:16 left in the first quarter gave Pine Bluff its first lead of the night in which the Zebras would keep the rest of the game.


A 13-8 run in the second quarter extended Pine Bluff’s lead to 22-14 at halftime. During the first half, Pine Bluff had six different players enter the score charts and would add two more scorers in the second half. Smith said his team shared the ball well and he was pleased with the outcome.


"When you are getting ready for state, you want to have some other folks who are able to score, Smith said. "We’ve been moving the ball around and getting folks involved and it has been helping us a lot."


The second half was a match-for-match point as the Zebras and Wolves traded buckets for awhile. A layup by sophomore Marcus Thomas, set up by a nice pass from senior Roosevelt Murray, increased Pine Bluff’s lead to 31-19 as the Zebras were able to get some breathing room. Pine Bluff led 40-27 at the start of the fourth quarter.


A highlight dunk came in the fourth quarter from sophomore David Beasley after Ladarius Skelton stole the ball and passed it up the court to Beasley, who flushed it down with one hand.


The Zebras would increase the lead at the free throw line late in the game after Lake Hamilton received a technical foul and an intentional foul in consecutive plays. Beasley hit the foul shots and the intentional foul shots while Gragg added the technical shots.


Smith said he was proud of his boys’ effort and said it was important to for them to play a lot of guys because of the turnaround they have in playing at Sheridan tonight.


"We played everybody tonight and no one really played any outstanding minutes," Smith said. "I think their conditioning will be well. We’ve been getting up and down the floor … so we’ll be all right."


Along with Gragg, Murray added 12 points along with two rebounds and an assist. Lake Hamilton was led by Cade Hill who finished with 12 points while adding two rebounds and a block.


GIRLS


Pine Bluff 55, Lake Hamilton 41


The Pine Bluff Fillies used a 15-4 run in the second quarter in cruising to a 14-point win against the Lake Hamilton Lady Wolves at McFadden Gymnasium on Thursday night.


Pine Bluff (19-5, 9-2 7A/6A South) received 22 points from Ajia Richardson and 16 points from Jasymyn Eckermann.


Pine Bluff avenged an earlier season loss against the Lady Wolves in dominating fashion as the Fillies forced turnover after turnover with their pressure defense while also crashing the boards throughout the night.


Lake Hamilton was led by Kori Bullard, who finished with 20 points.