BY EASTON LEONARD –
Mena hosted the Ashdown Panthers Friday night, January 27th, at the Union Bank Center at Mena High School.
The Bearcats started the game on a 13-6 run, before Ashdown called a timeout with 1:47 left in the quarter. After a technical foul on the Panther’s coach and a few shots, Mena went on to take a 15-6 lead into the second quarter. In the second, the Bearcats continued to keep a nice lead on Ashdown, outscoring the Panthers 13-12, to make the score 28-18 at halftime.
Scroggins, number twenty-three, led the Panthers in scoring at halftime with 11 points, while Cross Hughes led Mena with 12.
Ashdown narrowed down the Bearcats’ lead to start the third quarter, as the Panthers opened up a 13-10 run, before calling a timeout with 2:16 left in the quarter. Following the timeout, Mena went on to finish the quarter on a 6-4 run, to take a nine point, 44-35, lead going into the final quarter of play. The game got interesting in the fourth quarter, as the Panthers outscored Mena 16-11, to make the score 55-51, forcing Mena to call a timeout with 1:23 left in the game. Down by four, Ashdown stole the Bearcats’ inbound pass and scored an easy bucket, to bring Mena’s lead down to two with 31.7 seconds left in the game. The Panthers then fouled Mena with 26 seconds left. Both teams made two free throws apiece on their next possessions, before Austin Wagner scored an easy bucket for the Bearcats, to make the score 61-57 with under fifteen seconds left in the game. Ashdown drained a three-pointer in the final seconds of the game, but fell short, giving Mena another close victory, by a score of 61-60.
Cross Hughes led the Bearcats with 23 points, as Connor Harvey added on 14 points, Blake Seals and Zeb Wilson – 7, Austin Wagner and Carson Cannon – 4, and Darius Sims – 2.