Manila falls to EPC in Gerald Jennings Invitational Tournament finals

Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Manila Senior Lions, 2013-14 Gerald Jennings Invitational Tournament, runner-up.

Three games on consecutive nights proved too much for Manila, as the Lions ran out of gas, dropping a 52-38 decision to East Poinsett County in the finals of the Gerald Jennings Invitational Basketball Tournament Saturday night at Gosnell.

The Lions, who picked up back to back wins Thursday and Friday night over Gosnell and Blytheville, grabbed a 16-11 lead after the first quarter of Saturday night's championship matchup. The Warriors fought back in the second stanza, outscoring the Lions 18-10 to take a 29-26 halftime advantage.

Scott Eubanks hit a floater in the lane to pull the Lions to within 29-28 early in the third quarter before Dez Barnes' trey pushed the EPC lead back to four. A Lion free throw cut the margin to three points before Caleb Reinhart buried a trey to tie the game 32-32 with 5:50 left in the third period.

EPC's Aaron Scales swats away a Thomas Davis shot Saturday night at Gosnell.

Andy Tacker's bucket seconds later started a 14-1 Warrior run that left EPC up 46-33 entering the final frame. The Lions, who appeared dead-legged after three straight nights of play, were unable to mount a charge and saw their record drop to 6-2 on the year.

"We were dead tonight, and I don't want to use that excuse, but I still think we are as good as they are," said Lion Coach Lee Wimberley. "We battled and battled all night, but we shot the ball miserably. We were just 5-30 from inside the three point line, which is only 17 percent. We were only 57 percent from the foul line and we hit just 28 percent of our threes. Overall, we shot 20 percent on the night, and that's just not going to win you any ballgames. But you have to give EPC credit. They did a very good job defensively and they have a good ballclub. Over the last three days I've found out a lot about our team, and I really like where we are at right now. We've got a lot of good days ahead of us this year."

Barnes finished the night as the Warriors' leading scoring with 15 points while Clay Malone added 10. Tacker pitched in nine points for EPC, who hit 14-24 foul shots and made four treys.

Manila's Scott Eubanks scores two of his 14 points as the Lions fell to EPC in the finals of the Gerald Jennings Tournament.

Eubanks topped the Lions with 14 points while Zac Riley added eight. Reinhart had seven, Thomas Davis scored six, Kyle Joyner pitched in two while Kyler Williams added one point.

The Lions began the week with a 58-42 victory over Gosnell in the semifinals on Wednesday night. Eubanks led four Manila players in double figures with 18 points. Riley scored 14, Davis had 12 while Reinhart added 11. Seth Grissom tallied two while Williams pitched in one point to round out the Lion attack.

T.J. Anderson led the Pirates with 14 points while Will Rose added 10.

Manila picked up a 58-49 nonconference victory over Blytheville Friday night at home. Eubanks pumped in 24 points to lead the Lions while Joyner also notched double digits with 12. Riley scored nine, Reinhart had seven while Davis added six points.

Isaac Kelly led the Chickasaws with 14 points while Larry Bolden added 12.

In junior high action, Manila squeezed past Marked Tree 53-52 in the Gerald Jennings quarterfinals. The Indians led throughout most of the contest, holding leads of 13-8 after the first quarter, 23-17 at the half and 37-33 after three periods of play. The Lions outscored Marked Tree 20-15 in the fourth quarter to rally for the victory.

Bradey Woodall led the Lions with 13 points while Tyler Johnson scored 12. Matthew May and Miles Gifford tallied nine points apiece while Logan Hamilton and Patrick Tanner chipped in four points each. Rodney Laster scored two.

Julien Booker led the Indians with 16 points while Nick Andrews and Carl Coleman added 13 and 10 points respectively.

Manila fell from the ranks of the unbeaten, losing to Paragould 48-41 in the tournament's Thursday night semifinals. Paragould led 13-7 after the first quarter and 24-19 at the half before taking a 33-26 lead into the fourth quarter.

Gifford paced the Lions with 15 points while Woodall chipped in 10 more. Matthew May scored seven, Johnson had six while Tanner and Hamilton added two and one point respectively.

Blytheville's junior boys overpowered Manila 51-35 Friday night. Jordan Wilson and Autry Love pumped in 17 points apiece to lead the Chickasaws.

Woodall led the Lions with 13 points while Gifford had nine. Matthew May scored six, Hamilton contributed three while Johnson and Laster chipped in two points apiece.

Manila is scheduled to play Earle Tuesday night in a 3A-3 conference matchup at home. The Lions will travel to Wilson to take on Rivercrest Friday night in another conference tilt.

Lady Lions

The Lady Lions advanced to the finals of the Gerald Jennings Invitational Tournament with a 58-40 victory over Riverside Thursday night at Lepanto.

Kirsten Adcock pumped in 21 points while Deven Burrow added 15 more to pace the Lady Lions. Kailen Shelton had nine, Emily Cook scored five, Taylor Teague pitched in four while Taylor Harmon and Lauren Woody added two points apiece.

Kenzley Wilson led the Lady Rebels with 11 points while Anna Brickell added 10. Chelsea Nichols scored nine, Catlyn Sailor had seven while Jordan Miler chipped in three points.

The Lady Lions ripped through Hoxie 70-36 to improve to 10-1 overall and 4-0 in 3A-3 conference play Thursday night at Manila.

Burrow topped the Lady Lions with 19 points while Adcock and Shelton added 18 and 12 points respectively. Courtney Sears led the Lady Mustangs with 11 points.

Hoxie took the junior high game with a 28-26 win.

The Lady Lions will return to the hard court Monday night with a road trip to Wilson to take on Rivercrest in a 3A-3 conference game. Manila will play host to Piggott Thursday night in another conference matchup.

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