A North Little Rock 22-point fourth quarter spelled trouble for the Conway Lady Cats in the championship game of the second annual Dandra Thomas Invitational Tournament on Saturday at Buzz Bolding Arena.
In a rematch of last season’s 7A state title game, the Lady Cats held the lead for through most of the fourth, when the Charging Wildcats came back from a 53-47 deficit with 5:02 left in the game, taking a 59-58 lead for the first time with 1:38 left. North Little Rock, the defending state champion, then held on for a 61-60 victory.
NLR found Conway had trouble getting the ball through the Charging Wildcats’ fullcourt press. The Lady Cats scored just four points in a little more than three minutes.
Lady Cats senior Fut’ra Banks fouled out with 4:32 left in the game, which left Conway without one of its most physical players to close the game.
The Charging Wildcats’ 22-point fourth quarter outburst was due in part to 6-1 junior Yo’Myris Morris, who scored 10 points in the fourth, with her final two being the deciding factor in the game.
She scored her final two after she got her own rebound off a missed shot underneath the goal. She put back the shot, with 33.7 seconds left.
Conway took possession of the ball, fought through the NLR press before turning the ball over with just over 11 seconds left.
The Lady Cats were able to force a turnover of their own on the Charging Wildcats’ baseline.
Having to go the length of the court, Jacie Higgins fought through the press and put up a contested layup, missing the shot at the buzzer.
It was the second loss to the Charging Wildcats this season, as Conway lost, 76-67 Nov. 19, in the Heavenly Hoops Classic at Little Rock’s Mount St. Mary
Conway and North Little Rock each had easy victories to reach the finals. The Lady Charging Wildcats downed Central Arkansas Christian, 64-44, and the Lady Cats defeated Mount St. Mary, 62-24.
Conway heads to Dallas, Texas on Dec. 28 to play in the Sandra Meadows Tournament.
After losing to Pine Bluff and Benton in the Benton Invitational, the Conway boys came back Saturday to defeat Pulaski Academy in a consolation game, 57-46.
Kendarious Smith had 20 points. Blake Bradshaw added nine and Kylen Milton, eight.