Calico Rock starts strong, pushes past Lady Cougars
It sure wasn't the start they wanted, but it was the finish they have grown accustomed to.
The Izard County Consolidated Cougars were a bit sluggish out of the starting blocks, but finally found their footing and raced to a 73-42 win over the Calico Rock Pirates Dec. 12 at the Cougars' Den in Brockwell. The victory over Calico Rock keeps the Cougars 1A-2 South Conference mark spotless at 6-0. ICC sports an overall mark of 13-5 after the win over Calico Rock.
Earlier in the evening, the Lady Pirates of Calico Rock kept their strong conference play rolling with a 76-49 win over the homestanding Lady Cougars.
In boys' action, it took a big spark from the ICC bench to spark the Cougars to a 31-point win over Calico Rock.
Zac DeSanto provided a major part of the ignition that got ICC's offense jump-started, as he came off the bench to fire in a team-high 16 points in 13 minutes of action. Curtis Clark also gave the Cougs a lift with his play off the bench by tossing in 14 points on the low blocks while tangling with the Pirates' Marshall Branscum in the paint. Branscums' play was a bright spot for Calico Rock, as he scored a game-high 23 points for the Pirates.
Calico Rock certainly arrived in Brockwell ready to rumble.
Behind six early points from Branscum, the Pirates broke ICC's full-court press without much sweat to take a 10-7 lead midway through the first period.
Enter the Cougar bench, specifically Clark.
Clark logged ICC's next six points to keep Calico Rock from extending its lead any further.
A layup from ICC's Dustin Noblin at the end of the first knotted the game at 15-all after one.
While their outside game was pretty much held in check by the Pirates during the course of the first two periods of play, the Cougars did find success down low.
Scott Small (12 points) worked free for three straight hoops early in the second period, pushing ICC on top 25-18.
ICC didn't squander this lead, rather the Cougars built on it.
Joey Stefka (four points) drilled ICC's first 3-ball of the game and DeSanto closed the period strong with a trey and layup to help ICC to a 39-26 advantage at the half.
Calico Rock (6-9, 2-3) tried to keep pace in the third, as Branscum shined bright in the frame with eight points.
By this time, however, the Cougars were up and running and had no intentions of slowing down. For the night, ICC scorched the nets for a 67-percent shooting clip.
ICC outscored the Pirates 19-9 in the third to take a 58-35 lead into the final frame.
DeSanto jacked a triple to close the third for ICC and he opened the last stanza with four straight points to make sure the Cougars cruised to victory.
Kyle McCandlis tallied six points for ICC, while Steven Walker, Ethan Porter and Colton Selph followed with four points each. Gerrick Smith finished with three points, with James Morgan and Adam Montgomery posting two points apiece for the Cougars.
Adam Green finished with eight points for Calico Rock, with Mikey Cox adding five, and Brayden Fountain three. Willie Stone hit for two, while Jacob Moss ended the night with one point for the Pirates.
On the girls' side of things, the Lady Pirates were just too much on the offensive backboards for ICC to contend with.
Routinely getting at least two, and sometimes three and four shots at a hoop every time downcourt, Calico Rock got clicking early and never looked back.
As a matter of fact, when the Lady Pirates weren't getting second-chance points via offensive rebounds, they were swiping the ball from ICC and turning those steals into easy hoops in the open court.
The Lady Cougars did grab a 5-4 lead at the 4:41 mark of the first period.
After that, it was Calico Rock in the frame.
The Lady Pirates ripped off a 15-5 run at that point to grab control of the game with a 19-10 lead after one.
Hannah Wright paced Calico Rock with a game-high 22 points, while Kim Sutterfield tallied 16, and Ashton Lester 15, to lead a balanced Lady Pirate scoring attack.
Foul trouble caught up with Calico Rock a bit late in the second period. Kori Lamb (seven points) fouled out just before the half, and late free throws from ICC gave the Lady Cougars a bit of hope going into the break.
Brittney Bailey (10 points) stuck back a missed shot, and Melissa Martin (11 points), Sarah Taylor (13 points) and Trace Grinnell (four points) all hit free throws for ICC to help keep Calico Rock from running completely away at intermission.
Trailing 40-27 at halftime, the Lady Cougars needed something good to happen early in the third, and it did.
Martin hit the first four points of the frame to pull ICC within nine, 40-31.
Then something bad happened for the Lady Cougars.
The Lady Pirates exploded for 14 unanswered points to put the victory on ice. Calico Rock outscored ICC 18-6 in the third to take a 58-33 lead into the fourth frame.
This proved enough of a cushion for the Lady Pirates to coast to a 76-49 victory over the Lady Cougars.
Jessica Sanders finished with six points for Calico Rock, while Tasha McGowen, Emily Jenkins, Lindsey Jones, Jesse Conyers and Jennifer Tunnicliff tallied two points each for the Lady Pirates.
Kerresa Campbell logged six points for ICC, with Kaylee Cooper adding three.