By ISAAC BOURNE | The Arkadelphian
BLYTHEVILLE — Head Coach Jonathan Klein of the Arkadelphia Lady Badgers (20-9) was ecstatic after his team’s 58-51 route of the Southside Lady Southerners (26-6) Tuesday night in the first round of the Centennial Bank 4A State Tournament.
“Oh it’s just great,” Klein said, shaking with happiness. “It’s just beautiful to watch. I’m glad I’m along for the ride.”
The Lady Badgers trailed by as much as eight in the third quarter before a big run at the end of the period brought them to within one to start the final quarter. From there, Arkadelphia went on a 6-0 run to start the period and take the lead for the rest of the game.
The Lady Badgers had three players finish in double-figure scoring for the game, none of which were star senior guard Liyah Smith. “That’s what makes them so good,” Klein said. “They’re just a very unselfish group that likes to play team basketball.”
Senior guard Amya Snowden had a career night in Blytheville, finishing with 17 points, while sophomore guards TeTe Tate and Taylor Aultman had 14 and 13 respectively, and Smith and sophomore forward Raygan Harris both had six.
For Southside, senior center, 6-foot-3 Kamie Jenkins was held to just four points in the first three quarters before exploding for 17 in just the fourth alone, while sophomore guard Chaney McCance had 14 in the contest, and junior forward Lily Swanson had 10 along with senior guard Juliann Stevens who had seven.
The Lady Badger full-court press eventually wore down the Lady Southerner offensive attack, leading to multiple points off turnovers for Arkadelphia.
“That was the key to the game for us,” Klein said about his team’s defense. “The plan was to take away the two shooters and just speed them up as much as we could. A lot of pressure.”
With this win in the first round, the Lady Badgers will take on the Farmington Lady Cardinals (33-1) in the second round on March 2. Farmington is undefeated in conference play and is a favorite to win the title this year. Klein and the Lady Badgers hope to silence that noise with a win on Thursday.
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