Tough shooting night binds Benton

Benton senior Ryan Burks shoots a free throw in a game earlier this season. The Lady Panthers fell 37-27 to Mountain Home Wednesday in the first round of the 6A State Tourney. GREG DAVIS/Special to The Saline Courier
Tony Lenahan
Sports Editor

A bad start in the first round of the 6A State Tournament would end up biting the Benton Lady Panthers Wednesday against the Mountain Home Bombers. The West No. 5 seed Lady Panthers would fall 37-27 to the East No. 4 seed Lady Bombers in the first round at West Memphis High school.
“Both teams are probably better defensively than they are offensively,” Benton Coach Jerry Chumley said. “Mountain Home takes their time. They’re very methodical with what they do. We expected a low-scoring game and were kind of hoping for it. If you would have told me they were only going to score 37 points, I would have told you we were going to be in good shape, maybe.”
Benton senior Italei Gray would open the scoring with a bucket and 2-0 lead but the Lady Bombers would hold an 8-6 lead after one as five Lady Panther turnovers in the quarter would limit them. .
“We just never got going offensively,” Chumley said. “We had six points in the first quarter. We limited ourselves there because when we got shots we made them. The problem was we didn’t get but about three or four shots.”
It was all Mountain Home (15-15) in the second quarter as Benton (15-14) senior Anna Davis’ two free throws accounted for Benton’s only points as the Lady Panthers trailed 18-8 at the half.
“The second quarter was just awful,” Chumley said. “We didn’t turn it over as much, we just couldn’t get shots. The shots we got were tough and Mountain Home did a good job.”
Benton got within 27-18 after three and matched Mountain Home 20-20 in the second half, but the damage had already been done in the first.