Panthers finish on Sr. Night

Benton junior Ethan Hilkert, 32, drives in a 71-62 win over the El Dorado Wildcats Friday at Benton Arena. Hilkert led the Panthers with 18 points on senior night. GREG DAVIS/Special to The Saline Courier
Sports Editor

It’s been all about finishing out games for the Benton Panthers of late, or more accurately lack of finishing. Falling by one at Hot Springs Tuesday and blowing a 15-point fourth-quarter lead in a loss to Fair at home two Friday’s ago, the Panthers took on the El Dorado Wildcats in 5A South Conference play on senior night this past Friday at Benton Arena.
The Panthers would finish, hitting 15 of 19 fourth-quarter free throws in a 71-62 victory over the Wildcats and clinched a state tournament berth in the process.
“We still kept it exciting there at the end to make it a close game, but I was really proud,” Benton Coach Dexter Hendrix said. “I think we were (15 of 19) from the free-throw line in the fourth and that’s a huge difference from what we missed last Friday night (0 for 4, including missing the front end of three 1-and-1s, in fourth in Fair loss). We did some good things in the fourth, making some plays.”
Read the rest in Sunday's The Saline Courier.