BY EASTON LEONARD –
This past week, the Mena Jr. Ladycats and Jr. Bearcats competed in the 7-4A Jr. Basketball District Tournament, hosted at the Union Bank Center.
The Jr. Bearcats fell short to Ashdown by three, 46-43, in the semi-finals of the tournament.
However, the Jr. Ladycats won their first round game against Arkadelphia (41-26) and their semi-finals game against Nashville (33-22), to advance to their district championship game against the Ashdown Pantherettes.
The Pantherettes started the game on a 9-3 run, but Mena was able to cut the deficit to one, 9-10, before the first quarter came to a close. The Ladycats jumped ahead in the second, and outscored Ashdown 7-3, to take a three point, 16-13, lead into halftime.
Greelee led the Pantherettes with 6 points at the half, as Wagner led Mena with 13 points.
In a close knit third quarter, the Pantherettes cut Mena’s lead down to one, to make the score 22-21, going into the fourth and final quarter of play. Ashdown cut to as close as one, but never gained the lead, as the Ladycats held on by three points to win the District Championship, 31-28.
Greelee led the Ashdown Jr. Pantherettes with 10 points, while Randle scored 7 points, Smith and Cook 4 points each, and Hill 3 points.
Emily Wagner led the Mena Jr. Ladycats with 13 points in the game, as Hannah Stockton added on 12 points of her own, and Gracie Lyle 6 points.
Head Coach of the Ladycats, Rhonda Thigpen, is very proud of her team, saying, “This group came right off of a Volleyball District Championship and moved up the next day to help the senior high team go to the state volleyball quarterfinals. They had less basketball practices, but still had to win early to be the champions that they are.” Thigpen went on to say that the team’s motto the last few weeks of the season was “FOCUS on the FINISH.” She added, “They are an amazing group! I am blessed that I get to be their coach. Mena has such a strong tradition, and to win championships in volleyball and basketball, that shows these young ladies represent that tradition.”
Congratulations to the Jr. Ladycats and Jr. Bearcats on successful seasons.