For the second time early this basketball season, an opportunity for a McDonald County win was stymied by the weather.
First, on Dec. 1, the freshman boys' chance at a tournament title at Webb City was canceled due to bad roads.
A week later, the varsity boys' team chance for its first win of the season was canceled when Berryville, Ark. decided to miss the final game of the Battle at the Ridge tournament in Pea Ridge, Ark. due to the forecast of heavy snow in northwest Arkansas.
Instead, the Mustangs were forced to settle with losses in their two tournament games, including a 66-53 decision to the host Blackhawks in the tourney opener.
McDonald County used full-court pressure defense to jump out to a 9-0 start and 16-5 advantage over the Blackhawks midway through the first period. The Mustangs led 19-5 late in the first period, but Pea Ridge closed out the quarter with five straight points to trail 19-10 at the end of the first period.
The Mustangs led 25-14 early in the second quarter, but the Blackhawks closed out the period with a 13-9 advantage to cut the deficit to 34-27 at halftime.
After a Cooper Reece basket stretched McDonald County's lead to 36-27 to start the third quarter, Pea Ridge scored nine straight points to tie the game for the first time since it was 0-0.
Reece scored again, but Pea Ridge's Alex Wilkerson gave the Blackhawks their first lead on an old-fashioned three-point play. The score was tied twice and the lead changed hands two other times before Pea Ridge took the lead for good at 46-44 on Will Feemster's basket with 7:19 left in the game.
Pea Ridge went on to outscore McDonald County 22-10 in the fourth quarter.
Boston Dowd scored 17 points, and Reece finished with 15, to lead McDonald County. Rounding out the scoring for the Mustangs were Cade Smith with eight points, Tae-Shaun Alik six, Trent Alik four and Ben Mora three.
Pea Ridge's Nick Coble led all scorers with 23 points.
A poor fourth quarter also cost McDonald County in its 70-62 loss to Bearden, Ark., in the consolation semifinals.
The teams were tied 19-19 at the end of the first quarter before Bearden took a 36-33 lead at halftime.
The Mustangs rallied in the third quarter to tie the game at 53-53 entering the fourth quarter, but the Bears outscored McDonald County 17-9 in the final quarter for a 70-62 win.
Reece led three Mustangs in double figures with 17 points. Dowd added 16 points and Smith 13, followed by Trent Alik and Kobe McAlister with six each and Mora and Cale Adamson with two each.
Lavarious Hughes scored 33 points to lead Bearden.
Providence Academy built a 39-26 lead at the end of three quarters and held off a McDonald County rally to hand the Mustangs a season-opening 56-49 loss on Dec. 4 at MCHS.
Providence jumped out to a 16-6 lead to start the game, but McDonald County scored the final nine points of the first quarter to cut the lead to 16-15 entering the second quarter.
The Patriots held McDonald County to just four points on baskets by Mora and Reece in the second quarter to build a 28-20 going into the locker room.
McDonald County struggled on offense again in the third quarter, scoring just six points, to trail 39-26 after three periods.
The Mustangs got to within six points late in the fourth quarter on a basket by Dowd, but Providence hit five of six free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
Reece led McDonald County with 22 points, while Dowd and Smith added nine points each. Mora had five points and Trent Alik and Saul Garcia had two each to round out the scoring for McDonald County.
J.D. Siemens led Providence with 14 points, while Coleman Wheeler had 12 and Spencer Bivens had 11.
The McDonald County junior varsity dropped a 39-26 decision in the junior varsity game.
McAlister led the Mustangs with 14 points, followed by Mora and Adamson with six each.
McDonald County hit six straight free throws in the final 45 seconds of the second overtime to beat Gravette, 77-74, on Dec. 10 at MCHS for the Mustangs first win of the season.
The teams were tied at 60-60 at the end of regulation after Gravette missed a chance at winning in the final seconds.
Tied at 66-66 with less than a minute to go in the first overtime, McDonald County held the ball for the last shot but came away empty, forcing the second extra four minutes.
Gravette scored first in the second overtime before Trent Alik hit a short jumper to tie the score.
Mora hit one of two free throws, as did Gravette's Kaleb Furlow, to tie the score at 69-69.
Alik put the Mustangs up 71-69 with 1:44 left, but Gravette scored the next three points to take a 72-71 lead with 1:01 left.
Reece hit two free throws with 45.9 seconds to give McDonald County a 73-72 lead. After a Gravette miss, Smith made two free throws to stretch the lead to 75-72 with 21.2 left.
Gravette's Brayden Trembly made two free throws with 10.8 seconds to cut the lead to 75-74, but Mora stretched the lead to three with two free throws with 9.4 seconds remaining.
Gravette had a pair of chances from behind the three-point line to tie in the final few seconds but came away empty as the final buzzer sounded.
Reece scored 28 points to lead four McDonald County players in double figures. Alik finished with 15 points, while Dowd had 11 and Mora 10. Smith added eight points while Saul Garcia had three and McAlister two.
Trembly and Colby McCarthy each scored 17 points to lead Gravette.
Gravette claimed a 65-47 win in the junior varsity game.
McAlister scored 11 points to lead the Mustangs, followed by Cale Adamson and Irael Marcos with seven each, Pierce Harmon six, Cole Martin five, Nevin Price, Parker Harris and Garrett Gricks three each and Jackson Clarkson two.
The McDonald County freshmen remained unbeaten with a 43-36 win.
Martin scored 12 points, and Harmon had nine and Gricks eight, to lead McDonald County. Rounding out the scoring for the Mustangs were Bo Leach and Matthew Mora five each and Eli McClain four.Sports on 12/13/2018
Print Headline: MCHS Loses Battle At The Ridge