Ben­ton gets past Fil­lies in fi­nale

The Saline Courier - - SPORTS - By Tony Le­na­han tle­na­[email protected]­ton­

BEN­TON — Af­ter fall­ing in their first two games at their host Ben­ton Clas­sic against two good teams in Wat­son Chapel Thurs­day and Har­ri­son on Fri­day, the Ben­ton Lady Pan­thers fin­ished the Clas­sic with a 51-43 win over the Pine Bluff Fil­lies Satur­day at Ben­ton Arena.

Ben­ton se­nior post player Rhema Ri­ley had an ex­cel­lent game, putting sea­son highs of 23 points and 17 re­bounds, her sec­ond straight dou­ble-dou­ble.

“She was mon­strous,” Ben­ton Coach Jerry

Chum­ley said of Ri­ley. “She re­ally was the best player on the floor as far as any­thing in the lane area. She got ev­ery­thing, ev­ery re­bound. Her and Tues­day (Mel­ton) com­bined for 27 re­bounds. She’s been our most con­sis­tent.”

Ben­ton (2-5) got off to a hot start tak­ing a 13-4 lead af­ter one quar­ter of play, but Pine Bluff re­sponded with an 18-point sec­ond quar­ter to get within 25-22 of Ben­ton at half­time.

The Fil­lies outscored Ben­ton 16-5 in the third to take a 38-30 lead af­ter three, but the Lady Pan­thers didn’t fold in the fourth as a 21-point out­burst put Ben­ton over the top, helped by Ri­ley’s 6 of 6 free throws to snap the Lady Pan­thers skid. Also help­ing was Ben­ton’s limited turnovers af­ter av­er­ag­ing close to 20 a game on

the year.

“We had 12 turnovers as a team, which was pretty good against a team that was press­ing and get­ting af­ter us all over the floor,” Chum­ley said.

Af­ter Ri­ley’s mon­ster game, sopho­more Bis­sette Chil­dress had her best game of the year with 10 points, five as­sists and four re­bounds, and Mel­ton would score six with her 10 re­bounds. Se­nior Emily Hop­per added six points, ju­nior Jor­dan Miller four and se­nior Cayla Clay­ton had two.

The Lady Pan­thers take the week off be­fore re­sum­ing play in the Beebe

Hol­i­day Tour­na­ment. Ben­ton opens with host Beebe at 7 p.m. on Dec. 27.

GREG Davis/spe­cial to The Sa­line Courier

Ben­ton se­nior Rhema Ri­ley, 45, com­petes in a loss to Wat­son Chapel this past Thurs­day on the first day of the Ben­ton Clas­sic. On Satur­day, Ri­ley had 23 points and 17 re­bounds in a 51-43 win over the Pine Bluff Fil­lies at Ben­ton Arena.

GREG Davis/spe­cial to The Sa­line Courier

Ben­ton sopho­more Bis­sette Chil­dress puts up a shot in a loss to Wat­son Chapel this past Thurs­day in the Ben­ton Clas­sic. In Satur­day’s 51-43 win over Pine Bluff, Chil­dress had a ca­reer-high 10 points, with five as­sists and four re­bounds.

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