PRAIRIE GROVE -- Gentry finally made a free throw and Prairie Grove never did get the crucial rebound the Tigers needed in the final minute as the Pioneers handed Prairie Grove a 39-35 loss in a low-scoring game on senior night Friday.
Gentry opened up a 37-31 lead with 1:12 remaining in the fourth on Dylan Kilgore's layup on a press-breaker. At the other end Nick Pohlman lost his balance yet put the ball in the hoop while falling. Alex Edmiston's steal and layup cut the margin to 37-35 with 40.9 seconds showing.
Three times the Tigers fouled to sent Gentry to the free throw line for a 1-and-1, but had trouble rebounding. Kilgore got the first of three offensive rebounds Gentry would claim in the bonus situation. He missed a put-back, but Prairie Grove turned the ball over with a pass going out-of-bounds on the offensive end of the court.
Gentry attempted a 1-and-1 with 12.9 seconds and 8.0 seconds on the clock and Prairie Grove couldn't get either rebound. Both went out-of-play off the Tigers. With the clock down to 5.5 seconds, Gentry reached the double bonus and Kilgore put the game away by making both for a 39-35 lead.
Gentry pressure in the box kept the ball alive something coach Brent Hester said the Pioneers have worked on.
"We've been begging that all year and we've been getting it but haven't been getting many breaks," Hester said. "Our effort all night was great and it really showed up those last two missed free throws."
The Pioneers led 6-5 after one quarter and upped their advantage to 17-11 at the half. Prairie Grove whittled the deficit down to 27-24 at the close of the third quarter, but couldn't put together a run overtake the Pioneers in the fourth.
Gentry players found the open man and got high-percentage shots.
"They boys have done a good job of adjusting to what shots fit us," Hester said. "Just because we're open doesn't make it a good shot. In our last few games they've really done a good job of being patient and with Kilgore, who finishes at such a high rate at the post, we want to go to him as much as possible. Then the freshman Garrett to Jackson stepping in, that's two really good finishers at the rim and we're going to be patient and get it to them."
The loss was disappointing to Prairie Grove coach Steve Edmiston coming on the heels of a 46-43 win on the road at Gravette Tuesday, Feb. 5.
"We went into an opponent's gym that's a tough place to play and we handled the pressure very well, played solid defensively, and got some big buckets, big free throws late when we needed them and did the things it takes to win," Steve Edmiston said. "On the other hand, tonight, we were just the opposite. We shot it poorly. Defensively, we weren't very good and it's tough because this is a game where we're pretty much locked into that three seed, but still it's a game that you want to play well and create momentum going into next week. Now I feel like we're going to have to fight those demons and overcome that doubt again, but that's all we can do is get ourselves ready, good practice Monday, get ready to come back and play Tuesday."
The Tigers began district play Tuesday at Harrison.Sports on 02/13/2019
Print Headline: Crucial Rebounds Elude Tigers