BY EASTON LEONARD –
The Mena Bearcats have been on a tear in the second half of their season, stringing together several impressive victories heading into the post season. Their competitive play took them into the first round of the 7-4A Senior High District Tournament where they defeated the Fountain Lake Cobras by 12 points. The Bearcats were led in scoring by Connor Harvey with 20 points, as Cross Hughes chipped in 14 as well.
Second round of the district tournament found the Bearcats battling against the Bauxite Miners. Mena started off the game slow, allowing the Miners to take an 18-11 lead into the second quarter. The second quarter was a defensive struggle, both teams only scoring eight points a piece. After the defensive battle, Bauxite possessed a seven point lead at halftime, with the score 26-19. Cross was the leading Bearcat scorer at the half with 8 points. The third quarter proved to be competitive, both teams fighting for an advantage, but the Miners ultimately took the lead into the final quarter of play with a score of 41-33. The Bearcats were within four points multiple times in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t finish Bauxite off. Both teams went on to score nineteen points a piece in the last quarter, as the Miners defeated Mena by eight points, 60-52. Cross Hughes led the Bearcats with 14 total points in the game, while Connor Harvey added on 11 points of his own, Blake Seals 9 points, Zeb Wilson 7 points, Nick Myers 5 points, and Darius Simms, Brock Strother and Carson Cannon 2 points.
After losing a close one to the Miners in the second round of District, the Bearcats took on the Robinson Senators in a consolation game, Saturday February 18th, at Nashville High School. The contest proved to be a battle with Robinson only taking a six point lead into halftime. Coach Thomas Powell said of his team’s effort in the first half, “We played hard and executed the game plan well to keep us in the game.” The Bearcats came out of the locker room battling, cutting into the Senator’s lead and keeping the game close going into the final quarter. Bearcat players continued to play hard-nose basketball, putting pressure on Robinson to protect the lead. Despite their efforts, the Bearcats came up short at the end of the game, with a final score, 61-53. “We kept it close, but just couldn’t get the lead from them and they made free throws in the end to keep their lead. I’m proud of our guys,” says Coach Powell.
The Bearcats competitive play and first round district win against Fountain Lake has earned them a spot in the 4A South Regional Tournament at Nashville High School. Mena will come into the tournament as a 4 seed, the Bearcats will compete against the Lumberjacks of Warren, the 1 seed in the bottom half of the bracket. Coach Powell on the upcoming match up with Warren, “They won their conference championship by upsetting Monticello. They are what you would expect from a team like Warren, long and athletic, with speed and quickness.” The Bearcats and Lumberjacks will tip off Wednesday February 22, at Nashville High School.
For more information on each of these games, click on the Sports tab at mypulsenews.com