The Calico Rock Lady Pirates had one thing on their mind in the state tournament this year.
Make it back to the Class 1A Final Four, a destination they made last season before falling to Wickes.
After running past the defending state champion Sacred Heart Lady Rebels in the first round, Calico Rock found another formidable opponent waiting in the quarterfinals -- the Kingston Lady Yellowjackets, the state's second-ranked Class 1A team.
And as it turns out, a fast start from Kingston (36-4) was just too much for the Lady Pirates to overcome, as the Lady Yellowjackets topped Calico Rock 61-51 Feb. 29 at Pioneer Pavilion on the campus of North Arkansas College in Harrison.
Kingston's Allison Villines set the tempo for the contest in the first period, as she fired in 15 of her game-high 26 points in the first eight minutes of action.
This performance helped the Lady Yellowjackets to a 22-14 lead after one.
But Calico Rock didn't win 30 games this year by backing down from a fight. The Lady Pirates fought back and pulled within three, 29-25, at the break.
However, in the end, Kingston managed to find a way to hang onto the lead and keep its distance from Calico Rock, winning by 10 points.
Brittany Fountain, the Lady Pirates' talented freshman post player, turned in her second outstanding effort in the state tourney, tossing in 18 points to lead Calico Rock against Kingston. Calico Rock's All-State player Kim Sutterfield scored 10 points before fouling out with 3:45 left in the game. Kori Lamb logged six points for the Lady Pirates, with Hannah Wright and Taylor Cox adding four points apiece. Mallory Brannon finished with three, while Emily Jenkins, Miranda Jones and Jessica Sanders posted two points each for Calico Rock.
The Lady Pirates (30-7) made short work of the defending Class 1A state champions with an 80-54 rout of Sacred Heart (29-9) Feb. 26 in the first round.
Fountain turned in another huge effort off the bench for the Lady Pirates by tossing in 21 points for Calico Rock.
The Lady Rebels' Jessica Dammann led all scorers with a game-high 33 points and was just about the only offensive weapon Sacred Heart was equipped with on this night. After picking up two quick fouls midway into the second period, her third and fourth, Dammann played the rest of the game one foul from being disqualified, but this did not slow down her scoring one bit.
Calico Rock made sure that the Lady Rebels were left never in any kind of comfort zone by pressing, pressuring the ball and dictating the tempo of the contest. Sacred Heart turned the ball over 15 times in the first half and 16 more in the second half.
Wright got Calico Rock off to the fast start it was looking for by knocking down the Lady Pirates' first seven points of the game. She finished with 15 points.
Sutterfield (four points), one night after she scored 30 points in the second half of Calico Rock's regional tournament victory over Melbourne, picked up two quick fouls and watched most of the first period from the bench.
Despite this, the Lady Pirates led 17-13 after the first period.
Calico Rock then took over in the second period by scoring 24 points, while holding Sacred Heart to 10.
Using a variety of low post moves that the Lady Rebels had no answer for, Fountain tossed in nine points right before the half, helping the Lady Pirates to a 41-23 lead at intermission.
Then Calico Rock slammed the door shut by exploding for 24 more points in the third period, taking a 65-42 lead into the fourth.
When the night was over, Calico Rock had routed the defending state champs by 26 points.
Lamb finished with 12 points for the Lady Pirates, while Jones had eight, Cox six, Sanders five and Jennifer Tunnicliff four. Carlene Crumby and Jenkins logged two points each, with Courtney Lester logging one point for Calico Rock.