It was the dunk equivalent of a haymaker that both knocks a boxer to the floor and dislodges his mouthpiece.
Conway’s Justin Leon took an alley-oop pass high above the rim and jarred the backboard with a highlight-reel slam sunk Friday night that punctuated the Wampus Cats’ 76-62 victory over Greenwood on Senior Night at Buzz Bolding Arena.
The victory gave the Cats (14-11, 5-9) the fourth seed from 7A/6A Central going into next week’s 7A state tournament at Fayetteville. They’ll play fifth-seeded Van Buren at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Leon’s dunk followed shortly a nifty one-hander on a fast break by Adrian Moore.
The other big crowd reaction came with little-used senior Andrew Mitchell entered the game in the final two minutes and scored a point and had an assist as the Conway student section proudly held up his mug shot on sticks.
The Cats, who avenged an earlier loss to the Bulldogs, broke the game open with a 16-0 run that went from the final four minutes of the first half until early in the third quarter.
“We shot well, rebounded well, defended pretty well,” said Conway coach James Bates. “We matched them in scoring early, then got some stops and got some distance on them. All in all, it was a solid effort.”
Leon led the Cats with 19 points while A.J. Burton came off the bench to give Conway a spark in the first half and added 18 points. Tim Boyd had 17 and Dominic Taylor 13.
“When we’ve shared the ball, we’ve been pretty tough,” Bates said. “We made the extra pass tonight.”
Before the game, Boyd, a senior, was honored for becoming only the second Wampus Cat to reach 1,000 points for a career since 2000 (Kenyon McNeaill was the other).
Greenwood led between eight and 12 points almost the entire game in ending the Lady Cats’ season on a sour note, 80-71. Because of the power rankings (which placed them seventh), the Lady Cats did not qualify for the six-team tournament field from the 7A Central and East.
Conway hit 10 3-pointers in the contest, seven by Enjonae Chambers, who closed her career with 25 points and was honored between games for scoring 1,365 points in her career.
Kianna Speight added 27 for Conway.