By ISAAC BOURNE | The Arkadelphian
Senior guard Chris Gray scored 23 points in the Arkadelphia Badgers’ 86-43 win over the DeQueen Leopards (5-16). He shot seven threes on the night, making all of them, on his way to 21 total points from behind the arc in his first game back after missing a game due to sickness.
“It feels really good to be back,” Gray said. “I’m glad I can be here for my team and just do what I do.”
Aside from Gray, sophomore guard O’Bryant Roberts had 20 with 12 of them coming from behind the arc in a season-high scoring performance.
“It makes me feel really good, especially as a sophomore, because I’m very young and still have a lot to give to this team,” Roberts added. “Doing something like this at such a young age with the upperclassmen depending on me, that was really good.”
Following a heartbreaking loss at home to Camden-Fairview where the Badgers (13-8) lost in the final minutes, every player was ready for another chance to prove themselves, leading to stellar performances across the board for Arkadelphia.
“There were a lot of hurt guys in the locker room after losing [to Camden-Fairview Friday night],” head coach Garrett Garner said. “We know we were short-handed … but these guys don’t make excuses and they played hard and gave themselves a chance to win tonight.”
Aside from Gray and Roberts, sophomore guard James Elgas continued his double-digit scoring run with a 14-point outing, while junior forward Evan Bailey had nine, with four of them coming on crowd-igniting dunks as the 6 ‘3 Bailey gave the rim problems all night.
Garner was quick to praise senior forward Latonnieo Hughes on his high motor and hand work on the court. “He’s not a guy who wants a play drawn up for him, but he’s a guy who’s going to go out there and work hard, and we felt like we needed his energy tonight.”
Hughes, while only scoring four points, had several rebounds, on his way, making hustle plays that won his team the game.
The Badgers will have just a 24 hour turnaround before they head off to Hope to take on the Bobcats (8-10) Tuesday night.
Garner talked about this odd situation that the Badgers have found themselves in, “That [Hope] is one of the toughest places to play in our conference and they’re going to be ready for us tomorrow, so we’re going to have to match their intensity and preserve our legs.”
The short one-game road trip is just the second game of this three-game week for Arkadelphia.