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Prep Basketball: Defense holds back Pointers

<p>photo by JAMIE MITCHELL</p><p>Van Buren’s Maria Santillana tries shooting over a Springdale defender during the first half Friday at Clair Bates Arena.</p>

photo by JAMIE MITCHELL

Van Buren’s Maria Santillana tries shooting over a Springdale defender during the first half Friday at Clair Bates Arena.

After suffering a tough last-second loss on Tuesday, Springdale’s defense kept the Bulldogs from two straight losses.

Springdale did not allow a Van Buren field goal in the final 7:20 and held the Pointers scoreless in the final 2:43 to get a 44-37 7A/6A-West win Friday.

“If we can stay within what we are trying to do and make that one push at the right time, then we’d be OK,” Bulldogs coach Brad Stamps said. “Defensively, I thought our discipline was better in the second half. I was proud of our effort.”

The win puts the Bulldogs (14-4, 6-1) into sole possession of second place in the West standings while dropping the Pointers to third place.

Van Buren still has a shot to win the conference, but will have to beat Bentonville and Springdale on the road to do it. The Pointers start the second half of the conference season at Bentonville on Friday.

The Pointers (15-3, 5-2) had rallied from a 13-point, third-quarter deficit to take a 34-32 lead on Mitchell Smith’s two free throws with 5:17 left. Smith paced Van Buren with 11 points.

Springdale, though, took the lead for good at 38-36 with three minutes left on a Josiah Wymer layup. Quashaun Kursh made one of two free throws to get to within one at 38-37 with 2:43 left, but the Pointers did not score again.

“We kept battling back and I was proud of that,” Van Buren coach Randy Loyd said. “We had some chances at the end of the game, but we could not finish.”

Dorantez Evans drive gave Springdale a 40-37 lead with 1:36 left and Van Buren turned it over on its ensuing possession with a minute left.

The Bulldogs held the ball and the Pointers did not foul until 14.7 seconds were left. Christopher Owens, who scored 12 to lead Springdale, made both free throws. He added a layup at the buzzer to set the final score.

“We knew coming in here what kind of game it will be,” Stamps said. “We had to survive last year (a 43-42 Bulldog win). When you play at Van Buren, you know they will be 8-10 points better at home than they are anywhere else.”

Van Buren trailed 30-17 early in the second half and 31-19 with 5:02 left, before finishing the third quarter with an 11-1 run to get to within 32-30 going into the final quarter.

“Defensively, we made some stops and we finally got going offensively,” Loyd said. “Springdale did a good job defensively forcing us to run our offense further out than we wanted to.”

Springdale 52, Van Buren 38

GIRLS — It’s been a long time since Springdale has finished the first half of the conference with a winning record.

Thanks to a strong second-half performance, the Lady Bulldogs have one after beating Van Buren.

Springdale (10-8, 4-3) wore down the Lady Pointers in the second half as the defense allowed just three field goals and 13 total points in the final two quarters.

Van Buren coach Merrill Mankin said his young team is getting better, but needed some shots to fall that did not in the third quarter.

“We took some good shots but they did not go in,” Mankin said. “A few of those shots go down, then we are right in the game. We’re that close. Our kids are playing as hard as we can, but we are not as physically strong as the other teams. I can see a ton of improvement the last two games.

Maria Santillana scored 10 to pace the Lady Pointers (5-13, 0-7), whose losing streak is now at eight and conference losing skid is at 14 dating back to the last seven games of the 2012-13 season.

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