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story.lead_photo.caption MARK HUMPHREY GAME JOURNAL

For the second time in January a conference-leading opponent committed one of the Cardinal sins of basketball in the final seconds of a tight contest at Prairie Grove.

This time the Tigers couldn't capitalize as Gravette escaped with a 59-57 win on Jan. 23. The thrilling conclusion on a night, when all four games were decided by two points, went down to the wire, literally. D.J. Pearson rebounded Will Pridmore's missed 3-pointer, gathered himself and launched his own potential game-tying 3-point attempt from the right wing with time about to expire. Pearson was undercut and wiped out by Gravette's Kelton Trembly, who desperately tried to get a hand in the face of the shooter.

Trembly laid on the floor and covered his face with his hands as the consequence of the basketball transgression sank in. Gravette was holding onto a 59-56 lead with three-tenths of a second remaining. The officials quickly got Pearson to the foul line to shoot three free throws. So quickly, in fact, the scorer's table didn't have time to signal that Trembly had fouled out on the play.

Everything hinged on the free throws. When Pearson's first attempt clanged off the iron, Gravette fans sighed in relief while Prairie Grove fans groaned. Pearson made the second free throw and Gravette coach Matt Busch called time-out knowing Prairie Grove's only hope was to deliberately miss the third free throw and attempt to tip the ball in.

The Lions boxed out and 6-4 senior Dayten Wishon (13 points) went up high to corral the rebound as the horn sounded on a game that featured ebbs and flows for both teams.

Gravette shot well early, getting a pair of 3-pointers from Chris Childress, who finished with 12 points, and another trifecta from Trembly, who added two technical foul free throws to stake the Lions out to a 17-4 lead with the game only 5:33 old. They could have increased the margin, but after in-bounding an offensive foul turned the ball over.

Pearson took a rebound coast-to-coast and James Millwood banked in a turnaround shot in the post to pull the Tigers within 10 points, 18-8, as the first quarter ended. No Tiger had more than a single field goal until Millwood passed out of the post to Pridmore open for a 3-pointer at the top-of-the-key early in the second period. Pridmore carried the Tigers, scoring all 12 of their points in the second and finished with a season-high 31.

Gravette scored the next nine points while Prairie Grove had a bucket taken away on a foul against the Lions. Josh Dodge's basket pushed the Lion advantage to 27-11 before Pridmore notched seven unanswered points in a 1:33 span with a 3-pointer sandwiched around a pair of drives.

Two scores by Gravette in the final 46 seconds including Trembly's 3-pointer extended the margin to 34-20 at the half. At the end of the third quarter Pridmore knocked down a three to keep the Tigers within, 47-37. Bailey Soule's steal and layup kept the Lions in front by double digits, at 54-44, with 2:10 left.

The Tigers then sank four straight free throws while Gravette twice missed the front end of a 1-and-1. Following the second missed free throw Pridmore pulled up and swished a 3-pointer narrowing Gravette's lead to 54-51 with 1:12 to play. Soule made 3-of-4 free throws as the Lions got into the double bonus stretching the lead to six points, 59-53. Pearson hit a trey with 16.2 seconds showing to close the gap to 59-56.

With the clock down to nine seconds Trembly missed two free throws and despite leading Gravette with 17 points may have felt like the goat when he fouled Pearson especially with Busch yelling at the Lions not to foul. Although he fouled out, Trembly soon discovered committing one of the Cardinal sins of basketball can be forgiven. When free throws were missed and the Lions won, Trembly was treated like one of the Cardinal sins of basketball never happened.

On the opposite end of the spectrum Prairie Grove, which won 43-40 on Jan. 9 after Pea Ridge committed one of the Cardinal sins of basketball by failing to box out the shooter, allowing Anthony Johnson to claim the rebound of his own missed free throw while leading 41-40, learned the hard way they must capitalize when an opponent fails to execute in crunch time.

MARK HUMPHREY IS A SPORTS WRITER FOR THE WASHINGTON COUNTY ENTERPRISE-LEADER.

Sports on 01/31/2018

Print Headline: Cardinal Sin Of Basketball Forgiven

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