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Barker, Smith big as Lady Hounds claim Izard County Tourney title

Thursday, February 5, 2004

Sports Editor

It took some timely 3-point shooting from Stephanie Barker and some clutch free throws by Ashley Smith, but the Salem Lady Greyhounds emerged on top from a battle with the ICC Lady Cougars, winning the 2004 Izard County Tournament 58-54 Jan. 31 at Calico Rock.

Down by 10, 41-31, at the end of the third period, the Lady Cougars clawed their way back in the final frame despite being held without a field goal for the first 6:00 of the fourth.

ICC did manage to sink 11 free throws in the fourth before Lauren Cunningham hit the Lady Cougars' first shot from the floor at the 2:00 mark, pulling ICC within four, 49-45.

Cunningham paced the Lady Cougars with a huge effort of 21 points and seven boards, getting most of her points in the paint.

This kind of broke the ice for ICC, after which Mandy Haney (18 points, 13 rebounds) going coast-to-coast for a layup, before Joy Henderson (seven points) let fly with a huge trey at the 38-second mark to bring the Lady Cougars within a point, 53-52.

This was as close as the Lady Cougars would get, however, as Smith calmly sank four big free throws in the last nine seconds of the game to preserve the win for Salem.

Smith paced the Lady Hounds with a game-high 24 points.

The Lady Cougars jumped on Salem quickly in the first period, grabbing a 7-0 lead before the Lady Hounds answered.

And answer they did, with back-to-back treys from Barker (12 points).

A Heather Bales (10 points) layup right before the buzzer completed Salem's comeback and locked the game at 13-all after one.

Cunningham went right to work on the low blocks in the second period, tossing in six points, helping ICC to reclaim the lead at 21-16 with 5:16 left before the half.

Keeping Salem from falling into a bigger hole, Barker uncorked her third 3-ball of the game, and Samantha Smith (six points) posted a couple of charity tosses to tie the contest at 21-all.

Smith added a free throw right before the break to put the Lady Hounds in front 24-23 at halftime.

Smith was merely warming up for a big performance in the third period as Salem put some distance between themselves and the Lady Cougars.

Barker got things going with yet another trey before Smith took over, on her way to 10 points, including two triples, in the frame.

When the third period ended, the Lady Greyhounds had moved on top by 10, 41-31, before the Lady Cougars made one last run at the lead in the fourth.

Despite not having much success from the floor early in the period, ICC still scrapped their way back, but fell a little short of overtaking Salem, with the Lady Hounds taking the Izard County crown by a narrow margin.

For the game, Smith went to the line 17 times, hitting 14 for Salem.

Brittany Bales added five points for Salem, while Hannah Bray finished with one.

Laura Gaskins and Chelsie Yancey tallied three points each for ICC, while Ariel Yancey added two.

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