Panthers rout Eagles

Benton junior Ethan Hilkert, 32, goes up for a shot in a 61-38 rout over the Vilonia Eagles in the opening round of the Benton Classic Thursday at Benton Arena. Hilkert led the Panthers with 17 points in the win. GREG DAVIS/Special to The Saline Courier
Sports Editor

The Benton Panthers trailed the Vilonia Eagles 13-12 after one quarter of play Thursday to begin the Benton Classic at Benton Arena. But, the Panthers held the Eagles to just three points in the second quarter on their way to a 61-38 rout.
“I thought our defense was the difference,” Benton Coach Dexter Hendrix said. “I thought we played really well on both ends of the floor, but if we play great defense I think it will always give us a chance to win.”
That great defense in the second quarter gave Benton a 26-16 lead at the half and the Panthers upped it to a 39-26 advantage after three quarters before outscoring the Eagles 22-12 in the fourth.
“Total team win,” Hendrix said. “Had multiple guys step up on both ends of the floor.
The Panthers will play next in the Classic on Saturday when they take on Watson Chapel at 5:30 p.m.