The Conway Wampus Cats split their conference opening games against North Little Rock on Tuesday at Buzz Bolding Arena.
Early foul trouble in the third quarter caused the Lady Cats (13-4, 0-1 7A Central) to play conservative basketball in the second half, which led to a 58-50 loss.
It was the third time Conway has fallen to the Lady Charging Wildcats (14-1, 1-0 7A Central) this season.
At halftime, the Lady Cats were up 22-14, in part by holding NLR to four first-quarter points.
However, the foul trouble was enough to change the tone of the game.
The Lady Charging Wildcats had reached the bonus prior to ever fouling Conway.
With 1:31 left in the third quarter, NLR fouled the Lady Cats for the first time.
The Lady Charging Wildcats cut the lead to four at the end of the third quarter, outscoring Conway 21-17.
NLR took the lead for the first time at the 2:13 mark in the third quarter on a layup from junior Amber Hawkison.
The fouls were more problematic in the fourth for Conway with six players having four fouls late, including all five starters.
Because the Lady Charging Wildcats reached the bonus in the third quarter, they went to the line 12 times in the fourth quarter, converting 15 of 23 attempts.
In contrast, Conway went to the line six times, converting four of 11 shots
In the closing minute of the game, three Lady Cats fouled out.
NLR outscored Conway 23-11 in the fourth quarter, eventually taking a 47-42 lead with 3:19 left, the Ladt Charging Wildcats largest lead of the game up to that point.
NLR sophomore Kennady Tucker scored a game-high 19 points, with Hawkison and junior Yo’Myris Morris finished with 13.
Senior Savannah Lowe’s 15 points led Conway. Senior Fut’ra Banks also reached double figures with 10.
Conway 74, North Little Rock 65
Conway (7-3, 1-0 7A Central), took an early lead and never trailed.
“It’s going to be tough,” coach Will Johnson said. “We knew coming into conference it’s going to be physical. I told our guys we need to do two things and that’s rebound and take care of the basketball.”
It didn’t take long for NLR coach Johnny Rice to be assessed a technical foul — at the 7:32 mark in the first quarter.
It sent Conway senior Kendarious Smith to line for a pair of free throws, which he split.
It was the first of 10 times Smith made it to the line on the night where he made 17 of 20 free throws.He finished with a team-leading 22 points.
The Wampus Cats had three others reach double figures with junior Carson Petrucelli finishing with 14, senior Gentrell Taylor finishing with 12 and senior Travis Obannon finishing with 11.
NLR (6-4, 0-1 7A Central) was led by senior Jarvis Ricks’ 28 points while senior Deion Dobbins finished with 10.
Four players fouled out wiih Charging Wildcats’ senior Des Duckworth earning a double technical.
Both Conway teams travel to Cabot on Friday to face the Panthers.