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Viola takes third in NorthArk Tourney

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Staff Writer

Five games in five days.

Most NBA teams would refuse to play that kind of schedule, but that's exactly the trek the Viola Longhorns embarked on as they made their yearly trip through the brackets of the 31st annual Northark Invitational Tournament held on the campus of North Arkansas Community College in Harrison.

With wins in the first two rounds of the tournament, the Horns found themselves squared off with top-seeded Guy-Perkins in the semifinals Jan. 7.

Viola's run through the brackets stopped there, as the Thunderbirds bested the Longhorns 61-50.

Not only were the T-Birds top dog and eventual champs of the NorthArk tourney, they currently hold the number three spot in Class A hoops in the state.

Kevin Painter led Viola with 14 points, and Cody Hutson had 11 in the loss.

The Longhorns did bounce back from their loss to Guy-Perkins by bouncing the Leslie Bulldogs 37-36 the following evening to take third place in the tournament.

Tyler Richardson tipped in his own miss with 12 seconds left in the game to give Viola the winning score.

Leslie helped the Horns' matters by missing the front end of two one-and-ones inside the minute mark, the last coming with 1.2 seconds left in the game and the Bulldogs trailing by one point.

Kaleb West and Cory Batterton tossed in 10 points apiece for Viola, while Ryan Walker added nine.

The Horns made it to the semi-final round by blasting Lead Hill 69-50 Jan. 6.

Viola maintained a firm grip on the game from the outset, jumping on top 40-15 at the half, and stretching their margin to 51-27 after three periods of play.

Kaleb West tossed in a game-high 24 points, while Tyler Richardson added 14. Painter nailed four triples on his way to 13 points.

Viola opened play in the tourney with a come-from-behind 57-53 win over the Marshall Bobcats Jan. 5.

Down 14-10 after the first period, and 34-25 at the half, the Longhorns cut into the Bobcats' lead, and trailed by only a single point, 42-41, after three.

Finding their groove at the charity stripe, the Horns nailed 10-of-13 free throws down the stretch to earn the hard-fought victory.

Hutson paved the way for Viola with a game-high 14, while Cory Batterton posted 13, and Richardson 11.

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