photo by VONDA NORWOOD
Van Buren’s Lelesha Johnson looks for an opening as she drives the possession during Tuesday’s contest against Siloam Springs.
Though Van Buren has the 7A/6A-West’s best defense, it is not known for creating points off turnovers.
Against Siloam Springs Tuesday, the Pointers converted four fourth-quarter turnovers into easy points in routing the Panthers, 51-30.
The win gave the Pointers (20-4, 10-3) their second 20-win season since 2011. Van Buren now can play for the second seed in the 7A-West on the road against Springdale Friday.
“We were able to get some turnovers and that turned into some runouts and easy baskets for us,” Van Buren coach Randy Loyd said. “The easy baskets helped our offense as well as our defense. A win like this is a good way to send our fans home happy on Senior Night.”
The Pointers controlled the game through three quarters, leading 33-22. They went on a 13-4 run to start the fourth quarter that opened a 20-point bulge at 46-26 with 4:46 left.
“We were in the game, but once they got the barrage of turnovers, the lead went from 10 to 20 and they are not going to give up a big lead like that,” said Siloam Springs coach Tim Stewart.
In the second half, the Panthers (10-14, 4-9) made just six-of-18 field goals and had seven turnovers.
“They had us scouted well,” Stewart said. “We would like for them to get in our face and guard us so we can work them for layups. Instead, they put their kids in the right spots and forced us to make outside shots. Tonight they did not fall for us.”
Loyd said in the first meeting when Van Buren rallied to win in overtime 51-46, Siloam Springs attacked the Pointers defense inside the lane.
“We wanted to make sure that wasn’t happening again,” Loyd said. “We did a much better job of controlling the paint. We got some big rebounds and we even forced some turnovers.”
Ryan Pearson scored 17 points to lead Van Buren while Mitchell Smith added 14, including an alley-oop dunk that gave the Pointers a 20-13 halftime lead.
Roman Lambert scored nine points to lead Siloam Springs.
Siloam Springs 46, Van Buren 43 (Women’s)
Baily Cameron made two momentum-changing jumpers in the fourth quarter to lift Siloam Springs past Van Buren. The win keeps the Lady Panthers in control of the four seed from the 6A-South. Siloam Springs plays Heritage Friday night to end the regular season.
Van Buren (5-19, 0-13) used a 10-0 run to start the fourth quarter to take a 38-35 lead with 5:03 left on a Kaylee Sheppard 3-pointer. That was the first lead for the Lady Pointers since early in the second quarter.
Cameron, though, drained a jumper at 4:20 to get the Lady Panthers to within one at 41-40.
After Van Buren’s Lani Snowden drained a 3-pointer with 1:06 left, Cameron answered with a open 3-pointer from the left wing. The shot was on an inbounds play and it gave Siloam Springs the lead for good.
Cameron paced the Lady Panthers with 17 points while Morgan Miller added 14.
Danae Goodwin scored 14 to lead Van Buren while Maria Santillana added 12.