Second half spells doom for Lions in 81-64 loss to Trumann in NEA tourney semifinals
Trumann's Wildcats went on a 17-0 third period run to blow open a close game and went on to defeat the Manila Lions 81-64 to reach the finals of the Northeast Arkansas Invitational Tournament for the first time since 1986.
The Wildcats, who improved to 11-2 with the win, jumped to a 15-9 lead after the opening period of play. Trumann increased its lead to 10 points early in the second quarter, before Manila put on a rally that tied the game at 28 apiece on a baseline jumper from Scott Eubanks with 1:23 left in the half.
Malcolm Washington, who led all scorers with a game high 29 points, came away with a steal in the waning seconds before intermission, and drove for a buzzer beating lay-up that gave Trumann a 32-30 halftime lead, although Manila Coach Bill Taylor protested in vain that the shot had failed to beat the buzzer.
Trumann would build a 48-30 lead with just over 3:00 left in the third period, before Manila finally broke the drought with their first basket of the second half. The Wildcats would take a 58-42 advantage into the fourth quarter. Manila cut the lead to 13 points twice in the final frame, thanks to the scoring of Dillon Burrow, who hit four treys in the game, but the Lions would get no closer.
Burrow led Manila with a team high 23 points, including 13 in the fourth quarter. Brady Jones finished with 17 while Scott Eubanks added 15. Garrett Baker tallied seven while Dylan Bogle finished with two points.
Washington, who had a game high 29 points, also finished with six blocks shots in leading the Wildcat attack. Matt Holt and Lee Conatser scored 13 points apiece while Nathan Maxwell added 10.
Burrow and Jones were named to the NEA All-Tournament team.
Manila will return to the hard-court Jan. 3, when they play host to 3A-3 conference rival Corning. The Lions will travel to Hoxie to close out the week Friday night on the road.