Davis drives Benton after slow start

BENTON – For the second consecutive game, the Benton Lady Panthers failed to score a point in a quarter, but unlike their 44-42 loss to Searcy on Thursday where they were outscored 13-0 in the third quarter, the Lady Panthers shook off a scoreless first quarter against the Springdale Lady Bulldogs on Friday in a 38-35 victory in their first home game of the year at Benton Arena.
“We scored zero in the third quarter against Searcy, but they scored 13,” Benton Coach Jerry Chumley said. “The thing about the zero in the first quarter [Friday] was Springdale only got four so they weren’t too far from us. I told the girls the bad news is we don’t have any points, but the good news is they don’t have many either.”
The first score of the game came at the 2:44 mark of the first quarter when Springdale’s Desiree Mack pulled down an offensive rebound and put it back in for a bucket. Kierra Lang put the Lady Bulldogs up 4-0 with 1:54 left, which would be the score after one. Though Benton shot 0 for 10 with eight turnovers in the first quarter, both teams were playing stingy defense.
“It was a very physical first quarter,” Chumley said. “It was hard for them to score. Obviously it was hard for us to score. We had to adjust to that physical game and I thought our girls’ intensity level went up because we were being guarded well and being guarded physically.”
Lady Panther senior Allison Reynolds’ 7-foot jumper put Benton on the board early in the second, but Lang put Springdale on top 9-2 with a 15-footer and 3-pointer with 5:37 left in the half. But Benton got a spark from sophomore Skylar Davis as she would score the Lady Panthers’ next six points, and junior Braxton Chumley’s steal and layup brought Benton within 12-10 with just under two minutes left.
Down 14-12 with the clock ticking down, Davis would throw in a 3-pointer as the first-half clock expired with the Lady Panthers leading 15-14. Davis finished with 9 points in the half.
“Skylar hit that big three at the buzzer to give us that 1-point lead,” Coach Chumley said. “That energized us a little bit and the girls were excited at halftime because early it looked like we were going to be in trouble. She played well. She hit some big shots tonight, got us into our offense and really had a complete game.”
Davis debuted the scoring the second half with a layup and Chumley would make it 19-14 with a layup early, but Springdale would respond with a 5-0 run to tie it at 19-19 with 5:30 left in the third. Benton would take advantage of the Lady Bulldog full-court press as Reynolds hooked up with Davis for wide-open layups getting behind the defense for a 23-19 lead. Benton would lead 25-21 going into the fourth.
Benton led 27-23 after junior Ashlie Dintleman’s 5-foot jumper in the middle of the lane, but Springdale would take a 28-27 lead with 6:27 left after Baiyinnah Taylor’s layup. The Lady Panthers responded with an 8-0 run to take a 35-28 lead after two Davis free throws with 1:58 left to ultimately seal the win. Benton led by eight with 31 seconds left before Springdale hit two threes to get it closer.
Davis had half the Lady Panther points with 19, Chumley followed with 7 points, four steals and two assists, Reynolds had 6 points, seven rebounds, and three steals, and Dintleman had 4 points and six rebounds.
Benton shot 37 percent to Springdale’s 38 percent from the field and the two teams combined for 47 turnovers in the game with the Lady Bulldogs committing 28 of them. The Lady Panthers shot just 9 of 18 from the free-throw line and are 15 of 32 (47 percent) their past two games.
Benton plays next on Tuesday when it hosts the Hot Springs Trojans.