BY NORM BETZ –
The Mena Bearcats were hot when the game tipped, going on a 9-0 run to lead the Waldron Bulldogs, cooled off in the third, but ended the game on fire, outscoring Waldron 22-16 in the fourth quarter. However, it just wasn’t enough as the Bulldogs ultimately defeated the Bearcats, 59-53.
Zak Terwilliger started off the run with a steal and score that he took coast-to-coast for the uncontested layup. Brandon Sibbitt kissed in a 14-footer off the glass, Sage Kesterson hit a pair of free throws and Terwilliger put the exclamation point on the run, drilling one from beyond the arc.
Waldron closed out the first quarter on a 12-4 run to cut the lead to just one point at the conclusion of the opening quarter. The Bearcats could only muster four free throws in the final two minutes. Jarrett Clibrey hit two-of-two fr
om the stripe, while Zach Jewell successfully converted the one-and-bonus. Mena held onto a 13-12 lead after the first.
Waldron outscored Mena 5-3 in the first four minutes of the second to grab their first lead of the contest, 19-16. The Bearcats outscored the Bulldogs 9-8 to close out the second quarter, but trailed Waldron 27-25 at the half. Chibrey led the Bearcats with a pair of driving the lane layups and a pair from the charity stripe. Drew O’Brien drained one from downtown, Drew Plunkett added a 10-foot jumper, while Kesterson made one-of-two from the line to round out the second quarter scoring.
The Bulldogs came out of the locker room and outscored the Bearcats 12-2 and ultimately outscored Mena 16-6 in the third quarter. Darius Sims and Kesterson each connected on one-of-two from the line during the early Bulldogs run. O’Brien tossed in a trifecta for the only points of the quarter from the field for Mena. Clibrey made the first of a one-and-bonus and the Bearcats trailed the Bulldogs 43-31 at the end of the third quarter.
Mena outscored Waldron 22-16 in the final quarter, cut the lead to five points, but ultimately lost the 4A-7 conference contest, 59-53. Terwilliger led the Bearcats in the final quarter with 10 points, three buckets, one of which included a three-point play the old-fashioned way, and later closed out the game with a trey. Kesterson added four buckets in the fourth and converted one-of-two from the charity stripe. O’Brien laid one up and in off the glass, while Plunkett closed out the Mena scoring hitting one-of-two from the stripe.
Zak Terwilliger led all-scorers with 15 points. Sage Kesterson scored 13 points, Jarrett Chibrey added nine points, Drew O’Brien added eight points, Drew Plunkett scored three points, Brandon Sibbitt and Zach Jewell each added two points, and Darius Sims was good for one point on the night. Mena shot 63% (15-of-24) from the free throw line, while Waldron shot 57% (13-of-23).