By ISAAC BOURNE | The Arkadelphian
The Ashdown Panthers had no response to the electric Badger offense Friday night in Arkadelphia’s 59-37 win. A combined total of 44 points between the dynamic duo of senior Chris Gray and sophomore James Elgas led the Badgers to a crucial win.
“I think we pick our poison perfectly,” Elgas said after the game. “I’m giving him the ball when I’m hot, and he’s giving me the ball when I’m hot. We just worked really well together and I just think that can take us a long way.”
Gray scored 25 points in the game, lighting it up from deep with six threes, while Elgas finished with 19.
“It’s off energy,” said Gray. “That’s how we’re going into the game … and you know, I’m ready to knock it down and knock it out. I practice that shot all the time, so it’s going to come when I need it.”
During a first half that saw the Badgers jump out to a 24-point lead, Ashdown had no answer to the 2-3 zone defense implemented just before the game by head coach Garrett Garner.
“Coach [Ware] and I were talking before we went to address the team, I said ‘what do you feel?’ and we both simultaneously agreed to go with a zone to start off with to see how [Ashdown] can handle it,” Garner mentioned. “And give our guys credit. They played their assignments.”
Arkadelphia’s defense allowed just 10 points in the first half and only three in the second quarter alone. Anchoring down the defense was junior forward Evan Bailey, senior forward AJ Lambert, and senior forward Latonnieo Hughes, who spoke on his role within this team.
“I’m just there to help out. Getting rebounds, playing defense, I just think I compliment these guys well,” he said.
Hughes was just one of three seniors to be honored that night, as he joined Gray and Lambert in being recognized with their friends and family.
After the loss to Hope Tuesday night dropped the Badgers to sixth in the conference and with the win against the Panthers, they overtake Ashdown for the fifth spot, just one game out of the fourth spot and a spot in the regional tournament.
The Badgers control their own destiny, as with a win over the Nashville Scrappers (10-11) at home Tuesday night and a win on the road in Malvern against the Leopards (5-12) next Friday, Arkadelphia will have a guaranteed ticket to Warren High School, the site of this year’s 4A South Region tournament.
SLIDESHOW: Arkadelphia Badgers Senior Night 2023
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