GRAVETTE -- Prairie Grove held Gravette to three first quarter points and coach Kevin Froud liked that so much he asked his girls to do it again, they did; and held off the rampaging Lady Lions in the second half.
Prairie Grove picked up its second conference win of the season, 46-45, despite being outscored 39-26 in the second half. The key to victory was limiting Gravette possessions which the Lady Tigers vigorously labored to do especially in the first and second quarters.
Prairie Grove outscored Gravette 8-3 in the first period and 12-3 in the second taking a 20-6 lead into halftime. Froud has been seeking a unit that functions well together and he found it with a pair of freshmen, Trinity Dobbs (5-6 guard) and Olivia Kester (6-0 center). Neither has played much varsity, but both contributed to the win.
The Lady Lions made only two field goals before halftime with Kester keeping Gravette's 6-footer, Abigail Beranek, in check neutralizing her on the boards and drawing several over-the-back fouls while maintaining inside position.
"She did a great job. In junior high they wouldn't let her play a lot because she's so big, they run into her that they'd always call fouls on her. In senior high they've let her play a little bit more and she's doing a good job of getting some rebounds, of getting some put-backs and helped us with size and let us move Jasmine (Wynos) out on the floor a little bit more," Froud said.
Dobbs scored 10 points and made Prairie Grove's only 3-pointer of the contest. She made the winning free throw with just seconds left after Gravette tied the game at 45-45 on Maggie Mckenize's trey.
"She (Dobbs) is a tremendous athlete and she's used to playing a lot of basketball in situations and she's come up and really helped us a lot. She's really adjusted well to the speed of the game and the transition and the physicality of the game," Froud said. "She just went and got it, got it in and knew to go to the other end and that's what we've talked about. She's just one of those kind of players that knows how to make plays when it's time and when the game's on the line."
Froud called time-out and when the second free throw was off Larisha Crawford immediately jumped into the passing lane forcing Gravette point-guard Shylee Morrison to come back to the far end of the gym to take an outlet pass from Jessica Bookout. Dobbs stepped into Morrison's path impeding her progress. Morrison managed to get across the timeline, but the effort took the accuracy out of her shot which clanged off the rim as time expired.
Gravette coach Will Pittman made adjustments and the Lady Lions picked up the tempo in the second half. Gravette outscored Prairie Grove 22-14 in the third, but still trailed, 34-28. Of particular importance was tenacious man-to-man defense by Lexie Madewell on Bookout, who finished with 19 points to top Gravette, in the last 41.1 seconds of the third.
Gravette fashioned an 8-0 run off three steals by Bookout, the last of which resulted in an uncontested layup reducing the Lady Tigers' lead to six. Then Prairie Grove turned the ball over by failing to in-bound, but kept Gravette from scoring with Madewell twice cutting off Bookout drives
The Lady Lions made another hard charge in the fourth putting 17 points on the scoreboard to 12 for the Lady Tigers. At the 5:32 mark Bookout missed a layup on the run and Madewell rebounded for Prairie Grove. At the other end a defender gambled and lost while trying to steal a pass to Emily Grant, who made them pay by ducking under and coming up for a quick layup and a 37-32 Prairie Grove lead.
The Lady Tigers then went into a delay running a minute off before Madewell was fouled and sank both free throws stretching the margin to seven with 3:39 left.
Bookout's free throws brought the Lady Lions within, 39-37, but going the other way Grant beat her defender off the dribble driving for a layup to notch her 20th point of the contest.
Morrison and Dobbs exchanged foul shots then Gravette launched an airball from 3-point land. The rebound was tied up with the alternating possession belonging to Prairie Grove near the two minute mark.
Crawford utilized her mobility to repeatedly dribble away from Gravette's Kasandra Tajchman finally forcing a foul and making 1-of-2 giving the Lady Tigers some breathing room, at 44-39, with 59.1 seconds showing.
A lane violation cost Gravette dearly when Morrison's second free throw was disallowed.
Bookout took a steal to the hoop but couldn't finish. The rebound went out-of-bounds last touched by Prairie Grove. Morrison was again fouled and made both.
Jasmine Wynos made 1-of-2 in the double bonus with about 10 seconds to play.
Needing a three to tie Gravette executed well with Morrison bringing the ball up, then handing off to Mckenzie curling around the wing. Her trifecta was true deadlocking the score, at 45-all, but a mental mistake by Bookout reaching in as Dobbs crossed half-court led to a foul and the winning free throw for the Prairie Grove freshman.
When the dust finally settled on the hardwood at Gravette's competition gym, Prairie Grove had earned a 46-45 win.
PRAIRIE GROVE 46 GRAVETTE 45
Gravette (12-10, 5-5): Jessica Bookout 6 7-8 19, Shylee Morrison 1 5-5 7, Gabbi Scott 2 3-4 7, Abigail Beranek 1 3-4 5, Kaylan Chilton 1 2-4 4, Maggie McKenzie 1 0-0 3. Totals 12 20-25 45.
Prairie Grove (7-13, 2-9): Emily Grant 8 4-6 20, Trinity Dobbs 3 4- 6 10, Jasmine Wynos 2 3-4 7, Larisha Crawford 1 2-5 4, Lexie Madewell 1 2-2 4, Olivia Kester 0 0-2 0. Totals 15 15-25 46.
3-Point Goals -- Prairie Grove 1 (Dobbs). Gravette 1 (Mckenzie).Sports on 02/13/2019
Print Headline: Freshmen Duo Sparks Lady Tigers