Lengthening winning strides by Batesville High School runners, an all-seasons surge by Melbourne High athletes, and good and bad happenings on the college coaching front made big news in the Guard-circulation area in 2009.
The Lady Pioneer track and field and cross country teams continued their hold on Class 5A state championships. The track and field team won its fifth straight title in May. Six months later, the cross country team won its sixth in a row.
HARRISON — Chance Sugg hit a buzzer-beating, 16-foot jumper to lift the Paragould Rams past the Batesville Pioneers for a 44-42 victory in a consolation game of the Lendel Thomas Classic here Wednesday afternoon.
The Pioneers led most of the game and were up seven with five minutes and 30 seconds to go, Batesville Coach Jeff Morrow said. “But then we gave up a 3-point play. From there we made three bad decisions and Paragould got up by one with about two mintues to go,” he added.
JONESBORO — The Cave City Cavewomen showed no mercy as they collected their second straight Northeast Arkansas Invitational Tournament championship here Wednesday evening.
Cave City, the top seed in the 65th edition of the tournament, dominated the second-seeded Bay Lady Yellow Jackets 61-38.
The Cavewomen were stellar on defense once again. Bay didn’t score until Tressa Jenkins hit a 3-pointer with 1:50 to play in the first quarter. Cave City led 11-7 at the end of the quarter.
CONCORD — The Rose Bud Ramblers hit 16 of 18 free throws in the fourth quarter to defeat the Concord Pirates 66-64 and collect the Greers Ferry Lake Classic high school basketball championship here Wednesday night.
“Our free-throw shooting was huge,” Rose Bud Coach Matt Porter said. “We’ve struggled at the free-throw line most of the season. We’ve talked about it, worked on it and tonight it showed. Heck, it won the game for us.”
HARRISON — The Bergman Panthers shot past the Batesville Pioneers in the second half here Tuesday night while posting a 61-52 victory in the consolation semifinals of the Lendel Thomas Classic at Harrison High School’s Spook House.
The Panthers scored the first seven points of the second half, overcoming a 26-22 halftime deficit, and never trailed again.
Bergman’s Matthew Bruce scored 18 of his team-high 22 points in the second half. Trevor Honeycutt added 16. Marcus Montgomery and Kendall Ruff tallied 10 apiece.
JONESBORO (AP) — Brandon Reed scored 14 points and Trey Finn finished with 13 points and 13 rebounds as Arkansas State defeated Central Baptist 98-60 Tuesday night.
Four other players scored in double figures for the Red Wolves (6-5). Jeremy Thomas and Brandon Peterson had 13 apiece while Adam Sterrenberg and Martavius Adams each added 12. Coach John Brady won his 300th career game.
Ryan Barnes scored 16 points to lead the Mustangs (9-7). Batesville graduate Michael Holder and Cedar Ridge graduate Brady Batson added six points each.
NORTH LITTLE ROCK (AP) — It was around this time last season that Arkansas peaked, thrilling the home fans with victories over Oklahoma and Texas.
Now, the Razorbacks are hoping for a similar run as their nonconference slate draws to a close. Arkansas takes on Baylor tonight, then hosts No. 24 Alabama-Birmingham on Saturday and No. 2 Texas next week.
Cave City linebacker-wingback Thamail Morgan was among 26 players named to the Associated Press Arkansas Football Super Team.
Morgan earned the award for his achievements at the linebacker position. He was credited with 167 tackles. Of those, 36 were behind the line of scrimmage. In addition, Morgan returned two fumbles and two interceptions for touchdowns and recovered a total of four fumbles. He also forced a pair of fumbles.
CONCORD — The Concord Pirates will try to be the first Guard-circulation area high school basketball team to 20 and win a Greers Ferry Lake Classic championship tonight.
The Pirates improved to 19-3 with a 66-61 victory on their homecourt over the Nemo Vista Red Hawks in the nightcap of semifinal action Tuesday.
As usual, they did it with offensive rebounding.
“Normally, that’s the way we go — second and third chances with offensive boards,” Concord Coach Keith Cornett said. “I don’t know who led us in rebounding, but it was between Derek Burnett and Chase Thomas.”
JONESBORO (AP) — Arkansas State has named Clay Helton as its new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
Helton replaces Doug Ruse, who was fired after the Red Wolves finished with a disappointing 4-8 record this season.
Helton has spent the past three years as the University of Memphis’ assistant head coach and offensive quarterbacks coach. He joined the Memphis staff in 2000 as the running backs coach.
Arkansas State Coach Steve Roberts says Helton is “innovative, fast paced and designs ways to get the ball into the hands of the playmakers.”
HARRISON — The Mena Bearcats handed the Batesville Pioneers their sixth straight high school basketball loss here Monday in the opening round of the Lendel Thomas Classic.
Randy Peters and Logan McCourtney scored 18 points apiece to lead the Bearcats to a 64-54 victory. Daniel Wood added 15 points.
Hunter Gallant scored 21 points for the 1-7 Pioneers. Conor Lawrence added 17.
Mena led 30-23 at halftime.
No other details were available at press time.
CONCORD — The results were mixed for the hosts of the Greers Fery Lake Classic here Monday night.
In first-round action, the Concord Pirates defeated the Shirley Blue Devils 76-49 and the Greers Ferry West Side Lady Eagles defeated the Lady Pirates, but a score and details were not available by press time.
Other scores were: boys — Rose Bud 60, Quitman 42; Mount Vernon-Enola 67, Greers Fery 48; Nemo Vista 48, Pangburn 44; girls — Rose Bud 48, Shirley 19; Nemo Vista 52, MV-Enola 28; and Pangburn 61, Quitman 58.