Lady Pirates reach state semifinals, find too much Garrison on side of Lady Warriors
As a three-time member of the Class 1A All-State Basketball Tournament team, including her 2004 MVP performance as a freshman, its safe to say Wicke's Lakyn Garrison loves to get her hands on the competition come early March.
And Garrison's fingerprints were all over her Lady Warriors' 66-48 win over Calico Rock in the Class 1A Final Four March 3 at Yellowjacket Arena in Clinton.
Garrison, inked to play college ball at Harding University next season, tossed in a game-high 28 points to help Wickes (41-3), state champions in 2004, push past the Lady Pirates (30-5), champions from the Region 2 Tournament.
When Garrison wasn't cutting to the hoop for layups, she was dishing the ball off to her teammates for open looks, or grabbing a key rebound, or forcing a turnover. It seemed like every time Calico Rock got within hailing distance of Wickes, Garrison came up with a big series to keep the Lady Warriors on top. Garrison added four assists and three steals to her afternoon's work.
The Lady Pirates, too, are blessed with a high-powered hoopster, Kim Sutterfield, and she did not disappoint in the state semi-finals.
Sutterfield, the MVP of the Region 2 Tournament, paced Calico Rock with 21 points, including four treys.
The Lady Pirates got off to a good start, something necessary when facing a team the caliber of Wickes.
Kori Lamb (12 points) knocked in Calico Rock's first two hoops of the afternoon, while Jessica Sanders (three points) followed with one of her own to stake the Lady Pirates to a 6-3 lead.
Then the well went dry for a spell for Calico Rock.
Wickes ripped off the next 16 points of the frame, including a long 3-point heave by Savanna Bailey that hit the bottom of the net as the buzzer sounded, giving the Lady Warriors a 19-6 lead after one.
While Calico Rock certainly didn't want to find itself in a 13-point hole after the first eight minutes of play, the Lady Pirates didn't mope. Instead they worked to fix the situation.
Sutterfield got loose in the open court for back-to-back layups early in the second to get the Lady Pirates rolling.
Ashton Lester (six points) chipped in with a pair of free throws at the 6:46 mark to pull Calico Rock within seven, 21-14.
Then Garrison made her presence known by sinking a layup and canning a 3-pointer to halt the Calico Rock run.
Still undaunted, the Lady Pirates then racked up the next nine points of the game, starting with a long 3-ball from Sutterfield. Hannah Wright (four points) hit a jump shot and Lester kicked in four straight points to edge Calico Rock closer, down five, 28-23.
Once again Garrison responded by throwing in Wickes' next six points to keep Calico Rock at bay.
However, Sutterfield had her say late in the second.
After two charity tosses by Jennifer Tunnicliff, Sutterfield jacked another triple and closed the book on the first half with a jumper that sent the teams to intermission with the Lady Warriors on top 36-30.
Calico Rock edged closer on a Lamb bucket to open the third period.
But four points was as close as the Lady Pirates could get.
Wickes used a 7-0 burst midway into the stanza to extend its lead to 49-36 at the 3:12 mark.
The Lady Pirates wrapped up the third with four straight points, but Wickes took a 49-40 lead to the fourth.
With Calico Rock unable to string any buckets together in the last eight minutes of play, Wickes managed to play keep-away with the lead to earn a spot in the Class 1A finals at Summit Arena in Hot Springs, where it will face Sacred Heart for the state championship.
The Lady Pirates played their way into the Final Four with a 55-44 victory over Scranton March 2.
Sutterfield led Calico Rock with 19 points, while Wright had 15, and Lester 10. Sanders tallied nine, and Lamb finished with two.
In opening-round action, it took Calico Rock about half a period to get rolling, but once the Lady Pirates found their groove, they didn't stop until they had steamrolled the Weiner Lady Cardinals 71-46 Feb. 28.
The Lady Pirates were a bit sluggish at the game's outset, falling behind 13-4 midway into the first period.
Then Calico Rock's quick hands and even quicker feet picked up the pace and turned on the defensive pressure.
The Lady Pirates harassed Weiner into five turnovers in the span of one minute as Calico Rock took over the contest.
Sanders (five points) started a period-ending 15-2 run for the Lady Pirates with a steal and layup.
Tunnicliff (seven points) added a swipe and bucket and Sutterfield (13 points) jacked the first of her two triples in the last two minutes of the first period.
Lamb (12 points) then continued the blitz with a free throw and bucket, followed by a stickback from Sanders.
By the time Sutterfield ended the Calico Rock run with a 3-ball that hit the bottom of the net as the horn sounded, the Lady Cardinals had to wonder what exactly hit them, as Calico Rock went from nine points down to four points up, 19-15, in the last three minutes of the first period.
Calico Rock enjoyed this burst so much that it kept Weiner from hitting any field goals in the second period.
For the frame, the Lady Cardinals (20-17) hit just four points, all on free throws, as Calico Rock continued to roll, taking a 38-19 lead to intermission.
Weiner did hit a couple of baskets in the third, but the Lady Pirates still dominated the proceedings to take a 52-27 advantage after three, on their way to a 25-point rout of the Lady Cardinals.
Lester tallied 12 points for Calico Rock, while Wright had 11, and Jenkins seven. Lindsey Jones and Tasha McGowan ended the game with two points apiece.