BAUXITE – Sophomore Ben Madison scored 16 points, senior Tyler Hill added 12 points, and the Bauxite Miners won its third consecutive conference game with a 46-37 victory over the visiting Ashdown Panthers.
In the first half, both teams came out and struggled to put the ball through the basket. After the first quarter of play, Bauxite (12-5, 6-1 conference) led Ashdown 8-7. Three-pointers by Madison and junior Hunter Holder were the only field goals in the quarter for the Miners, leaving Head Coach Mark Smith frustrated with his team’s offensive efficiency.
“We’ve kind of put together two games back-to-back where we’ve played really bad in the first half,” Smith said. “Everybody is kind of backing off of us a little bit, not putting a whole lot of pressure on us and we’re settling for too many threes.”
The second quarter didn’t fare any better for the Miners, which finished with eight points in the quarter. Four different Miners scored a basket in the quarter, but turnovers and poor possessions limited the scoring. Despite Bauxite’s offensive shortcomings, its defense frustrated the Panther offense all night, and allowed the Miners to take a 16-13 lead into the half.
In the locker room and in need of a spark, Smith and his coaching staff challenged Madison and the Miners to get after it in the second half.
Madison responded with 11 points in the second half, Hill poured in baskets during pivotal stretches, and the Miners outscored the Panthers 30-24 in the second half.
“We finally got a couple of easy baskets, we got a couple of tips and throw-aheads over the top,” Smith said. “We broke their press and got a couple of easy scores.”
A Madison free throw in the fourth quarter put Bauxite ahead of Ashdown 44-32, giving them its largest lead of the game.
Ashdown’s Dominique Sanders led all scorers with 17 points.
“It was an ugly win, but it’s a win,” Smith said. “Any conference win is a bonus.”
“I told our guys if we want to stay atop of the pack, we’re going to have to put together two solid halves of basketball,” Smith added.