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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Bearkatz Barn claims one last title

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Turns out the grand old lady had one last bit of magic left in her wooden timbers.

After a 57-year run as the home of Melbourne's basketball teams, the Bearkatz Barn will give way next year to the sparkling, state-of-the-art gymnasium at Melbourne's brand new high school.

But that's next year.

This year the Bearkatz Barn had one last district tournament title to hand out to the home team before the lights go out for good.

To mark the occasion, the Lady Bearkatz brought their "A" game to the shindig and knocked off the Calico Rock Lady Pirates 58-45 Feb. 16 to win the 1A-2 South District Tournament title.

The victory is the Lady Katz' 16th straight.

And to say things didn't go Calico Rock's way in the first period would be a major understatement.

It was bad enough for the Lady Pirate faithful that Melbourne knocked down three treys in the first period to push Calico Rock in a 15-7 hole after the first period of play. But what happened early in the second was unthinkable.

Kim Sutterfield, the Lady Pirates' top scorer and emotional leader, crumpled to the floor with a leg injury and had to be carried off the court by Calico Rock Head Coach Scott Faulkner at the 6:42 mark of the second. She did not return, and for probably the first time in her senior-high career, Sutterfield was held scoreless.

Calico Rock, the 1A-2 South's regular season champs, tried to press on, but Melbourne was just too strong on this night.

Codi Womack (11 points) busted two triples in the first period, while Olivia Morris (14 points) added another to stake Melbourne to an eight-point lead after one period of play. Melbourne knocked down nine treys for the game.

Right after Sutterfield's exit, Melbourne went wild from the outside, hitting three straight 3-pointers. Kenzi Gillihan (nine points) drained the first, Womack hit the second and when Gillihan sank her second, the Lady Bearkatz had extended their lead to 27-9.

Calico Rock did gain a bit of momentum by ending the first half with a 7-2 run. Kori Lamb (four points) hit a pair of free throws, while Brittnay Fountain (12 points) tacked on a couple of field goals and Jessica Sanders (three points) hit a charity toss.

This helped a little, but Melbourne, regular-season runners-up, still held a 31-16 lead at the break.

And Maggie Cooper made sure that lead held firm for the Lady Katz in the third period.

She kicked in 11 of her game-high 17 points in the frame, including seven straight that gave Melbourne a 45-19 lead with 3:07 left in the third.

Hannah Wright (13 points) stacked up five straight points for Calico Rock deep in the stanza, but Melbourne took a 19-point lead, 49-30, into the final frame.

The Lady Pirates went on a 10-2 burst to close the game, including the last seven points of the contest, but Melbourne still racked up its third win over Calico Rock in four tries this year, 58-45.

Both teams qualified for the regional tournament at Izard County High School.

Autumn Henry finished with three points for the Lady Bearkatz, while Kaylee Ables and Abby Cooper logged two points each.

Emily Jenkins hit for nine for Calico Rock, with Kelsey Knowles adding four points.

The Lady Bearkatz (22-7) earned a spot in the finals with a 56-41 win over third-seeded Norfork Feb. 14.

Morris turned in a 22-point, 10-rebound, six-steal game for Melbourne.

The fourth-seeded Izard Lady Cougars opened tourney play by brushing past fifth-seeded Cushman 57-38 Feb. 12.

Keressa Campbell tallied a game-high 19 points for Izard County, with Leathyr Spangler and Rachel Harmon adding 12 points apiece.

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