Lady Lions given warm send-off en route to 4A state tour­na­ment

Westside Eagle-Observer - - SPORTS - SU­SAN HOL­LAND shol­

GRAVETTE — The weather was cool and rainy Wed­nes­day, Feb. 28, but there was plenty of warmth sur­round­ing the Gravette Lady Lions as they de­parted on their jour­ney to the state bas­ket­ball tour­na­ment. Taos Jones, the as­sis­tant prin­ci­pal at Gravette High School, planned and or­ga­nized a send-off for the team. Stu­dents at Gravette schools, lo­cal busi­ness own­ers and Gravette cit­i­zens all joined in to show their sup­port for the girls and cheer them on as they de­parted for the com­pe­ti­tion.

The play­ers boarded their bus at the high school and were driven past the mid­dle school and the up­per el­e­men­tary school and on to Glenn Duffy El­e­men­tary. De­spite the fall­ing rain­drops, up­per el­e­men­tary stu­dents wanted to go out­side, so teach­ers grabbed their um­brel­las, young­sters put on jack­ets and filed out­side to line the side­walk and wave to the girls as they drove past. Many had made signs con­grat­u­lat­ing the Lady Lions and dis­played them as the bus rolled by.

Team mem­bers ex­ited the bus and went in­side at Glenn Duffy El­e­men­tary. Stu­dents sat in the halls and cheered for the girls, dis­played more lov­ingly-hand­made signs and waved at the Lady Lions as they walked through the halls. Many high fived the Lady Lions and coach Will Pittman as they walked past. Then the team en­tered the bus again and was trans­ported to down­town Gravette.

Once on Main Street, the girls were greeted by busi­ness­men and women and other area folks. Some par­ents and grand­par­ents of Lady Lions came to town to join in the cel­e­bra­tion. The girls de­parted the bus about the mid­dle of Main and ran about a block and a half down to the cor­ner be­fore re­board­ing. This gave them an op­por­tu­nity to get closer to their cheer­ing fans and work off some pent up en­ergy be­fore their de­par­ture.

More signs were seen on Main Street and more cheers were heard. Hands were still wav­ing as the bus drove out of sight and went on down the road to Brook­land, tak­ing the play­ers to their fi­nal games at Bob­cat Arena.

Team mem­bers cer­tainly earned the send­off they re­ceived. They had a great sea­son and won their semi­fi­nal game against Ozark 67-45 on Fri­day, Feb. 23, They dom­i­nated the first half, outscor­ing Ozark 22-9 in the sec­ond quar­ter and tak­ing a 37-20 lead into half­time.

The Gravette girls met Ber­ryville Saturday night in the re­gional fi­nal, a team they de­feated ear­lier in the 4A-1 con­fer­ence tour­na­ment fi­nals. They started strong, forc­ing five first-quar­ter turnovers, but the Bob­cats ended the quar­ter with a bas­ket and made 10 straight points to open the sec­ond quar­ter. The Lions pulled within a bas­ket, 21-19, but were un­able to re­gain the lead. Ber­ryville took the game, 76-55.

The girls made an ex­cel­lent show­ing in state com­pe­ti­tion, de­feat­ing Ash­down 64-39 Thursday in the first round de­spite mak­ing 33 turnovers. The Lady Lions outscored Ash­down 24-7 in the sec­ond quar­ter and led 37-20 at half­time. They made 27 of 37 from the free-throw line.

Coach Pittman praised the girls’ ef­forts, say­ing, “We played hard the entire game. Our in­ten­sity was good the entire game … In the sec­ond quar­ter, we were ag­gres­sive on of­fense, which led us to the line, which got us those easy points.”

The Lady Lions didn’t fare so well in their quar­ter­fi­nal game against Riverview on Fri­day. The Gravette girls led 66-65 with 1:54 left in the game, but the Lady Raiders were 8 of 10 from the free-throw line in the last 1:02 min­utes and the Lady Lions suf­fered a one-point loss, 76-75.

It was a dis­ap­point­ing loss for the Gravette team af­ter com­ing so close, but the girls rep­re­sented their school and their town well, fin­ish­ing the year with a 25-8 record. It is an honor for the Lady Lions to make it to the state tour­ney and these girls, in their first trip to state, showed a level of per­for­mance to be proud of. Gravette fans un­doubt­edly greeted the team just as warmly on its re­turn as they did when it left.

West­side Ea­gle Ob­server/SU­SAN HOL­LAND

Af­ter a run down Main Street to greet wait­ing fans, mem­bers of the Gravette Lady Lions bas­ket­ball team wait at the cor­ner of Main Street and Third Av­enue for the bus to pick them up.

West­side Ea­gle Ob­server/SU­SAN HOL­LAND

Gravette Lady Lions bas­ket­ball team mem­bers are greeted by rows of stu­dents sit­ting in a hall at Glenn Duffy El­e­men­tary School. The girls walked through the halls be­fore leav­ing to play in the 4A state bas­ket­ball tour­na­ment in Brook­land.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.