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Blevins hangs on against Lady Bears

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Just when it looked like the Blevins Lady Hornets would cruise to a double-digit victory in the opening round of the Class 1A State Tournament March 4 at West Side Greers Ferry High School, here came the Mammoth Spring Lady Bears with a furious rally in the game's waning minutes, throwing everything but the kitchen sink at the Lady Hornets.

But in the end, Blevins managed to shrug off all the punches the Lady Bears could deliver, and the Lady Hornets escaped with a 59-50 win.

Mammoth Spring only scored eight points in the third period and went into the final frame down 42-26.

Blevins lead by 18 points early in the third, but Jessy Jo Vest went off for six straight points to pull Mammoth Spring within 12, 44-32, with two minutes gone in the fourth. Vest led the Lady Bears with 15 points.

The Lady Hornets managed to re-group and with a shade under three minutes left in the game, Blevins pushed its cushion back out to 16 points.

Seeing their season come to an end, the Lady Bears mustered one final push.

And what a push it was.

Sierra Smoot (12 points) jacked her fourth 3-ball of the game to start a 9-zip Mammoth Spring run.

Vest kicked in with a bucket, Tiffany Angotti (four points) added a layup and Bianca Paige (seven points) wrapped up the spurt with a steal and layup with 36 seconds left in the game, edging the Lady Bears within seven, 57-50.

Mammoth Spring had an opportunity to cut further into Blevins' lead when the lady Hornets were whistled for a 10-second count trying to break the Lady Bears' press with 24 ticks remaining in the contest.

But the Lady Bears couldn't capitalize on this and Blevins' Jessica Choate hit two free throws with 11 seconds left to give the Lady Hornets a nine-point win, cutting short Mammoth Spring's valiant late rally.

The Lady Bears had the lead early in the first period, but Blevins hit the boards hard and turned offensive rebounds into second-chance points.

All 10 of the Lady Hornets' first-period points came off offensive rebounds.

Shelby Frey opened the game with a triple for Mammoth Spring and after a Paige layup, the Lady Bears were on top 5-3.

Smoot upped this lead to 8-5 with her first trey, but Blevins used got a late layup by Latrece Nelson and 3-pointer to pull in front 10-8 after one.

The Lady Hornets maintained this advantage in the second, but an old-fashioned 3-point play by Vest pulled the Lady Bears within three, 17-14, with 4:35 left until the half.

Turnovers bit Mammoth Spring in the last part of the first half and Blevins closed the book on the first half with a 10-4 run to take a 27-18 margin to intermission.

Blevins outscored Mammoth Spring 15-8 in the third period and despite the late charge from Mammoth Spring, the Lady Hornets advanced to the second round of the Class 1A State Tournament.

Amy Young finished with five points for the Lady Bears, while Jamie Bellows added four.

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