The Pine Bluff Zebras battled back after going down 16-5 in the first quarter Friday against Landry Walker, but fell two points short in a 59-57 loss to the Charging Buccaneers in the consulation bracket.
Both teams were played out of the main tournament on Thursday.
“I thought we did a good job to jump out, but we played a good team who made some adjustments,” said Landry Walker head coach Ty Mitchell. “Their point guard [Kaleb Higgins] played phenomenally and shot the ball really well. I thought our guys came out and withstood their runs, and came out in the second half playing better basketball.”
Landry Walker opened the game with a 13-0 run until Kaleb Higgins hit a three with 3:10 remaining in the opening quarter, but the Buccaneers retained the lead, shooting 40 percent in the paint, and 66.7 percent from behind the three-point line compared to Pine Bluff’s 22.2 percent from the paint and 33.3 percent from behind the arch.
The Zebras were able to begin clawing their way back into the game on the back of Higgins, who scored 10 of Pine Bluff’s 16 points, but the Buccaneers were able to add 10 points of their own, with five players – Torey Cargo, Shadon Green, Jamond Vincent, Tyrus Crawford, and Michael Edgerson scoring two a piece – giving Landry Walker a 26-21 advantage at the half.
“Torey is a big-time shooter,” Mitchell said. “Once he understands to be patient and can pass up some good shots for great shots he can make them at a higher level. We talked about that at halftime. I yanked him one time for a shot that he took that I thought he rushed. I want him to pass up the good shots for the greater shots, and that is what you saw down the stretch. He stepped in, got his feet set, and he made the great ones.”
The Zebras outscored the Buccaneers 16-13 in the third quarter with Taiveon Harris and Higgins scoring six points each to lead Pine Bluff. Vincent led Landry Walker in the third period with seven points, allowing the Buccaneers to enjoy a 39-37 lead at the end of three.
Landry Walker began to pull away in the final quarter behind 12 points from Cargo, including three shots from behind the three-point line, two of which were back-to-back with 3:55 remaining in the game on the second shot, which put the Buccaneers ahead for the remainder of the game.
Higgins added nine more points in the final quarter including six points in the final 1:34 of the game. Harris hit a three with less than two seconds remaining in the game, but the Zebras ran out of time giving the Buccaneers the victory.
Landry Walker shot 42.2 percent from the paint, 47,1 percent from behind the three-point line, and 65 percent from the free throw line, while Pine Bluff shot 40 percent from the paint, 50 percent from behind the three-point line, and 55 percent from the charity stripe.
Torey Cargo led Landry Walker with 15 points, three rebounds, and three steals, followed by Jamond Vincent with 14 points, five rebounds, two blocks, and a steal.
Kaleb Higgins led Pine Bluff with 28 points, five rebounds, and four steals, followed by Taiveon Harris with 13 points, 10 rebounds, and two steals.
Landry Walker will play Columbus (Mississippi) Saturday at 3 p.m. while Pine Bluff will play Sam Houston Math and Science (Texas) at 4:30 p.m. in their final games of the tournament.