Devils down Benton to open Classic

Benton junior post player Rhema Riley goes up for a shot in a 44-40 loss to West memphis on Thursday in the Benton Classic. Riley had a double-double 16 points and 12 rebounds in the loss. GREG DAVIS/Special to The Saline Courier
Sports Editor

A tough first half would prove too much to overcome for the Benton Lady Panthers Thursday night to open the Benton Classic at Benton Arena. Down by eight at halftime, the Lady Panthers fell 44-40 to the West Memphis Lady Blue Devils.
“West Memphis is a big, physical team, a real physical, aggressive man-to-man,” Benton Coach Jerry Chumley said. “We just didn’t execute. We didn’t screen well, we didn’t pass it well. Most of it was due to our poor execution. Just poor offensive basketball.
“We just didn’t really get off to a great start. It wasn’t a good first half for us, as far as execution.”
Benton (4-4) trailed 15-9 after one and West Memphis would get a bucket at the halftime buzzer to go up 27-19.
The second half, though, Benton would get back into it, especially in the fourth quarter. The Lady Panthers trailed 35-26 after three, but went on a run in the fourth quarter to make it a four-point game.
“Second half was better execution,” Chumley said. “We passed the ball better, we screened better and we rebounded better. We just didn’t play good offensive basketball that first half. And we didn’t help ourselves at the free-throw line (8 of 14).”
The Lady Panthers will take on Greenbrier tonight at 7 and will wrap up the Classic Saturday against Vilonia at 4 p.m.