PRAIRIE GROVE -- The first half of Prairie Grove's 50-30 win over Gentry Friday mirrored their previous game at Gravette.
The Lady Tigers led Gentry 20-5 at the half nearly identical to their 20-6 halftime lead over Gravette on Tuesday, Feb. 5. Coach Kevin Froud is glad Friday's second half didn't replicate Prairie Grove's narrow 46-45 road victory over the Lady Lions. He praised the defensive effort.
"It's a testament to the girls who are out there, who are moving around quick, flying around, getting some deflections and making them have to shoot it from way out," Froud said. "That's some defense that we've played a lot here in the past and that's one thing that I'm very proud of the girls about."
The Lady Tigers smothered the basket holding Gentry without a point for the first 4:23 when Randi Jo Bolinger made a 3-pointer. By that time they had built a 6-0 lead on 3-pointers by freshman Trinity Dobbs and senior Emily Grant.
"She (Dobbs) came out tonight, hit a big three, her first shot and made some other shots," Froud said. "I think she's got the ability to be a great player when she matures."
Dobbs and fellow freshmen, 6-foot center Olivia Kester, have revitalized the Lady Tiger lineup.
According to Froud, senior night reflected a new look for the Lady Tigers.
"We've got some momentum. We've won three of our last four games and they've been close. I do think we have some momentum and the girls can build on that," Froud said. "All seniors are going to have pressure on that (senior night), but tonight it looked like Grant was more relaxed. She wasn't having to carry so much of the load because we've got other girls that can do other things now. She's had a lot of the responsibility (to score) this year. She's always been kind of the one in that grade that's been a leader so I think she's kind of relaxed now that we've got some other people that can step up and do some things."
Prairie Grove's stingy defense then kept Gentry off the scoreboard for the next 3:51 until Emily Toland's free throws drew Gentry within 8-5 with 7:25 remaining in the first half.
Prairie Grove closed out the quarter with 12 unanswered points featuring 10 by Grant. She stole a long in-bounds pass when the Lady Pioneers played the ball in underneath their own basket and turned that into a 3-point play. Gentry again had trouble in-bounding under its goal with 3:04 left in the second and turned the ball over on a 5-second violation.
"We come back and we got a couple of stops," Froud said. "Grant had an 'and one.' I thought she played real well tonight. She was being assertive and aggressive tonight and that's what we've been hoping to see from her all along all year."
Grant made them pay by driving around a defender at the other end. Later Grant added a pair of free throws then made the Lady Pioneers rue a turnover after they snared an offensive rebound by drilling a 3-pointer to give Prairie Grove a 15-point advantage at the half.
Gentry trailed 33-11 after three quarters and finally woke up its offense scoring 19 points in the fourth spread among six different players. Ariel Nix had all five of her points in the period including a 3-pointer. Bolinger added an old fashioned 3-point play and Fowler hit a trey. The balance of the Lady Pioneer points came on free throws. Gentry went 11-for-13 at the charity stripe in the fourth and 17-for-23 in the game, but only managed five field goals.
Prairie Grove scored 17 points in the fourth to keep Gentry at bay led by Jasmine Wynos' 7-for-8 free throw performance. Grant led all scorers with 21 while Dobbs added 10 for Prairie Grove.
Bollinger had seven to top Gentry.
The upstart Lady Tigers faced Huntsville Tuesday, Feb. 12, in the first-round of the District 4A-1 girls basketball tournament hosted by Harrison.
"We're playing good, some good things right now. We just got to keep taking it a day at a time and hopefully we'll see what happens. Right now, it's district tournament, it's a one-game season every night you step out there, If we win the right ones, we'll get to play next week. If we don't, then we'll put up the balls for a year," Froud said.
PRAIRIE GROVE 50 GENTRY 30
Gentry (8-15, 1-11): Randi Jo Bolinger 2 2-3 7, Jaydon Jarnagan 1 3-5 5, Ariel Nix 1 2-2 5, Emily Toland 0 4-5 4, Alexis Fowler 1 0-0 3, Heidi Vinson 0 3-4 3, Jaiden Wilmouth 0 3-4 3. Totals 5 17-23 30.
Prairie Grove (8-13, 3-9): Emily Grant 6 7-8 21, Trinity Dobbs 4 0-3 10, Jasmine Wynos 0 7-8 7, Logan Meadors 1 3-3 5, Olivia Kester 2 0-0 4, Lexie Madewell 0 2-2 2, Jordan Sugg 0 2-2 2, Gracie Foster 0 1-2 1. Totals 13 22-28 50.
3-Point Goals -- Gentry 3 (Bolinger, Fowler, Nix). Prairie Grove 4 (Grant 2, Dobbs 2).Sports on 02/13/2019
Print Headline: Revitalized Lineup Has Lady Tigers Eyeing Potential Regional Berth