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Cotter has no chance against Katz attack

Thursday, February 26, 2009

(Photo)
DISTRICT CHAMPS: Melbourne's Spencer Caraway goes in for a reverse layup against Walnut Ridge. Photo/Mullins
Meeting for the third time on the season, the Cotter Warriors knew full well what to expect as they took to the floor at Sharum Gymnasium in Walnut Ridge for their contest with the Melbourne Bearkatz in the championship game of the 2-2A District Tournament Feb. 21.

But although they knew what was coming, the second-seeded Warriors could do nothing to keep the top-seeded Katz from having their way in the game.

And have their way is just what the Bearkatz (31-4), ranked number two in Class 2A, did, running away with a 54-41 win over Cotter (19-11). Melbourne also won the 2-2A regular season with an undefeated mark in conference play.

With the victory in the district tourney finals, Melbourne earned a date with the Riverside Rebels in the regional tournament at Cedar Ridge.

Against Cotter, the Bearkatz really put the game away in the third period with a crushing 17-1 run.

The Warriors scored just three points in the second period, on a trey from Chris Shelley, and trailed 23-16 at the half.

Kevin Rorie opened the third with a 3-pointer for Cotter, pulling the Warriors within four, down 23-19.

Then Melbourne said, "That's enough."

Spencer Caraway started the Katz' massive third-period run with a pair of freebies. He led Melbourne with 19 points in the game, including seven, all from the free throw line, in the third. Dalton Grigg (five points) added a charity toss during this spurt, while Chase Massey chipped in with six of his 10 points for the game in the run. Lee Lewis (14 points) capped the string of Melbourne points with a triple that pushed the Bearkatz out to a commanding 40-22 lead with a shade under two minutes left to play in the third.

Kyle Cheek stopped the Katz' burst with a 3-pointer, his only hoop of the game. This came after Cheek had exploded for six 3-pointers in Cotter's semi-final round victory over Salem.

Kody Caraway (four points) hit a free throw and Melbourne stood in front 41-29 after three.

Cotter hit a couple of 3-pointers in the fourth, but it was just not enough to keep Melbourne from easing to victory. Grigg added an exclamation to Melbourne's win with a two-handed jam late in the fourth.

The game was close in the first period, with the Bearkatz clinging to a 17-13 advantage after one.

The second period was low-scoring for both squads.

Cotter got a trey from Shelley for its only points, while Lewis hit two jumpers and Derek Baird chipped in with a pair of free throws to round out Melbourne's point total in the second.

The Katz opened play in the tourney with a 72-60 victory over the host Walnut Ridge Bobcats Feb. 19.

Lewis was absolutely on fire in this semi-final matchup. He knocked down six treys on his way to a game-high 26 points for Melbourne. Lewis drilled four triples in the first period alone, helping the Bearkatz to a 10-point lead, 23-13, after one.

For the night, Melbourne connected on 13 3-balls against Walnut Ridge, with nine coming in the first two periods.

Massey (15 points) sank a pair of trifectas early in the second to help keep the Bobcats at bay and Grigg (10 points) added one late in the stanza to send the teams to intermission with the Bearkatz in front 37-31.

Spencer Caraway took over in the second half and scored 14 of his 16 points in the last two periods of play. He also pulled down 15 rebounds in the game.

Walnut Ridge stitched together a nice run late in the third with seven straight points, but Lewis nailed a 3-pointer and Spencer Caraway added a deuce in the paint to give the Katz a 52-46 advantage after three.

Melbourne peeled off an 8-0 run early in the final frame and Walnut Ridge could not get any closer than nine points in the game's last eight minutes of action.

Kody Caraway tallied six points for Melbourne.



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