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Mena Arkansas News covering Polk County and the surrounding area

Acorn Tigers basketball battles to the Final Four

Submitted by Acorn Basketball Staff

The Acorn Tigers basketball team met the Lavaca Golden Arrows in the finals on March 7, falling just short of overthrowing the conference champions.

The Tigers went into the 2A West Regional Tournament at Eureka Springs as the No. 2 seed. In the first round, they went up against Flippin and came out with an easy victory. 

In the second round they went up against the Eureka Springs Highlanders, but came up short.  

They went on to play the next game to determine the No. 3 and No. 4 seed. Cotter could not contain the Tigers. With the post play and defense of Senior Tyler Lyle, who added 6 points in the paint, there would be no let down and the Tigers easily came away victorious.

They came out of the 2A West Regional Tournament at Eureka Springs as the No. 3 seed, headed to the 2A State Tournament in Junction City.

At the State Tournament, the Tigers drew one of the state’s leading contenders for the title, the Buffalo Island Central High Mustangs, featuring 6’10” post Caden Whitehead. The Tigers came out hot, determined to play the favored Mustangs by going on an 8 point run in the first quarter. 

The Mustangs fought back to tie at half time.

The third quarter was back and forth, but in the fourth the Tigers pushed the pace and raced out to an 8-point lead.  As in most of the district and regional games, the Tigers called on sophomore, Noah Holland, to defend the top guards in each game. With Holland holding down the point guard, the Tigers stellar defense allowed for a comeback and they finished off the Mustangs with a 12-point victory. Senior Damian Bohlman scored 28 points and was 8 for 8 in the 4th quarter at the charity line. Westin McEntire had a great night with four 3-pointers.

In the quarter finals, Acorn took on the Cutter-Morning Star Eagles.The Tigers came out scoring and played hard nose defense getting out to a 16–11 lead.

Cutter-Morning Star cut the early score for a half time lead of Acorn 25-24.

In the 3rd quarter, Acorn senior Tyler Lyle and junior Braylan Bohlman kept the Eagles scoring guards out of the paint. This kept the high-flying Eagles offense off balance.

Acorn went into the 4th quarter with a 5-point lead. Damian Bohlman shut the door on the Eagles by scoring 12 points, and with the help of the Tigers’ stifling defense, Acorn sealed the victory. Damian Bohlman led the Tigers with 27 points, Westin McEntire pitched in 8 points along with Braylan Bohlman scoring 7 points.

In the Final Four first match up, the Tigers once again faced the Golden Arrows. Lavaca jumped out to an early lead, but Acorn was not backing down against the Class AA No. 1 ranked team. Coach Ledbetter called time out, got the Tigers regrouped, and encouraged them to take the fight to the Arrows. Behind senior Damian Bohlman and the Tiger defense, they fought back to close the gap at half time.

In the 3rd, the Tigers fought hard, and the Golden Arrows had to make some fine plays to keep the Tigers at bay.

In the 4th, Acorn was finding points hard to come by and the Arrows took a late lead. Lavaca was able to make their free throw shots at the end to keep the Tigers from their patent rush and ended their games this season.

The Tigers were disappointed, but took great pride in their efforts. The Tigers were in the Final Four where many of the favorites had failed to make it.

Acorn Tigers basketball coach Chris Ledbetter had his teams ready to play in the state tournament, defeating two heavily favored teams and pushing the favorite all the way to the end. Many of the players have and will receive some well-deserved recognition for their efforts.

“This team went into every game with desire and confidence. At the end of each game, they knew they had given their full measure of effort. The scoreboard might not have been in their favor, but they left it all on the floor each and every night. For that I thank them,” Lebetter said. “These Tigers have set the example and measure of success for many teams to follow.” 

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