SPRINGDALE — Van Buren mostly struggled until midway through the second half against Springdale Har-Ber Friday.
That’s when Mitchell Smith took over.
Smith scored 14 of his points in the second half to lead the Pointers to a 57-48 victory over the Wildcats in 7A/6A-West Conference action. Smith had only four points before he scored two baskets late in the third quarter.
Smith was then dominant in the fourth quarter when Van Buren outscored Har-Ber 15-3. The 6-foot-8 senior went over Har-Ber defenders for two dunks then found Bradley Eversole underneath for a basket after he drew the defense to him.
“Smith was awesome in the fourth quarter,” Van Buren coach Randy Lloyd said. “It was a physical game. They pushed our button a little bit and his, too. We talked about holding them to 10 points in the fourth quarter and they had three. It was a great job by our defense.”
Jason Harms scored 12 of his 15 points at halftime to give the Pointers a 31-28 lead. Ryan Pearson added 12 for the Pointers (17-4, 7-3), who beat Fayetteville Tuesday to avoid a three-game losing streak.
Andrew Davis and Landan Jones each finished with eight points for Har-Ber, which trailed 49-47 after a layup by Rickey Jones in the fourth quarter. But the Wildcats faded down the stretch after an unforced turnover and five consecutive misses from 3-point range.
“We have a hard time making plays down the stretch,” said Har-Ber coach Scott Bowlin, whose team lost a close game to Bentonville at home on Tuesday. “Everybody’s frustrated. Hopefully, one of these days it’ll change.”
Har-Ber used three-pointers by Mason Cline and Brandon Buccheri and two inside baskets by Landan Jones to lead 43-35 in the third quarter. But Van Buren finished the quarter strong after Mitchell Smith backed in for a basket to cut the Har-Ber lead to 43-42.
Smith began the fourth quarter with a fastbreak dunk behind the defense and he passed to Bradley Eversole to put the Pointers ahead 49-45.
“He’s a difference-maker, obviously,” Har-Ber coach Scott Bowlin said. “He’s 6-8 and he’s an athlete.”
Har-Ber 44, Van Buren 39 (Women’s)
Springdale Har-Ber was able to hang onto its big lead this time.
Har-Ber built a 12-points lead in the first half and defeated Van Buren 44-39 Friday in 7A/6A-West Conference play at Wildcat Arena. Paige Redmond scored nine points for Har-Ber, which fell out of a first-place tie in the league after losing to Bentonville on Tuesday.
The Lady Wildcats led by 11 points in the first half before losing to the Lady Tigers for the second time this season.
Har-Ber led by 12 in the first half against Van Buren. But the Lady Pointers fought back to get within 42-39 on a Halle Jennen with 1 minute, 57 seconds left in the game. Van Buren then missed two shots and Redmond hit two free throws to secure the victory for Har-Ber.
Carlye Bohannan and Bailey Schalk each finished with eight points for Har-Ber (18-5, 8-2), which made only three field goals in the third quarter.
“It was sporadic,” Har-Ber coach Sandy Wright said of her team’s shooting performance. “We’re struggling with our shooting right now. We may make it an offensive day and concentrate on our shooting Monday. We need to get that flow going again.”
Van Buren (5-15, 0-10) played another tough game after losing 42-37 to Fayetteville on Tuesday. The Lady Pointers were led by freshman Lani Snowden and sophomore Danae Goodwin, who each scored 11 points. Snowden made three of the five 3-pointers for Van Buren.
“We’re not quite there, but we’re getting better,” Van Buren coach Merrill Mankin said. “It’s going to come because these kids play so hard. They never quit.”
Van Buren got within 34-32 before Samantha Weber drove against a passive defense and made a layup to end the third quarter. Bohannan then hit a 3-pointer to begin the fourth quarter and Cassidy Squires followed with a layup to give Har-Ber a 41-32 lead.
Har-Ber started strong again and stretched 23-11 midway through the second quarter. Van Buren got to within 25-15 after a rebound basket Santillana. Van Buren had two more chances to cut the deficit but the Lady Pointers missed on two layup attempts.
Caroline Hornor then ended the half with a short bank shot to put Har-Ber ahead 27-17.